Baba Ramdev, stop making oblique suggestions about Prime Minister Modi; either spill all the beans or zip it up….writes Bikram Vohra

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev during Aap Ki Adalat's 21st anniversary celebrations in New Delhi on Dec 2, 2014. (Photo: IANS)
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev during Aap Ki Adalat’s 21st anniversary celebrations in New Delhi on Dec 2, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

You know the country is hurting when even the prime minister’s best friend turns against him. Actually, let me rephrase that — the best friend is hurting, and so friendship be damned, hang it out to dry.

Baba Ramdev has spoken out against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s note ban, by hinting at a sinister conspiracy involving the banking sector, and even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), saying that as much as Rs 3-5 lakh crores can be involved in this scandal.
Ramdev has clearly shrugged off his long-time support for Modi, as he adds economic insight to his quiver of authoritative arrows. The yogi-turned businessman and ayurveda champion, as adept at being spiritual guru as he is selling edible oil, but is having a rough time with sales of his consumer products probably dropping. To add to his dismay is the Rs 11 lakh fine levied on him for misrepresentation in manufacture of his products in the Hardwar factories where the ingredients are falsely marked.
Good reasons, don’t you think, for Ramdev to get a bit teed off; so this man for all seasons now decides to interpret the downside of the demonetisation process. But, according to him, it isn’t the prime minister who’s the bad guy — it’s the banks, and they misled Modi with their chicanery and gave him the wrong idea of what could happen. They did not tell him, for example, that Patanjali branded items would not fly off the shelf, and if they don’t do that with alacrity, then surely something is wrong with the killing of currency notes.
But, whoa, wait just a minute. Why has it taken Ramdev all of 38 days to figure it all out and share his incandescent genius with us? How quickly people change when their bottom line is adversely affected.
There is also another reason for this economic epiphany. Ramdev has probably been feeling left out of the loop at not getting his quota of media attention this past month or so. That anonymity irks, so why not make some outlandish announcement in the manner of a teaser trailer and say a lot without saying anything concrete.
In one shot, he indicts Modi, then absolves Modi, then blames the banks, and finally tells us there is a seamier undisclosed dimension, even venturing to place a huge figure on it, although he doesn’t tell us what exactly is going on. Now, is that fair? If Ramdev knows what this Rs 3-5 lakh crore hanky panky is all about, then why be cute about it? Come out and tell us the details, so we can decide if the banking sector plotted this grand larceny on the Indian people and took Modi for a ride. Yes, we know the banks are flush with cash. Where else would the money go. But that is not an indication of their being corrupt or in on the scheming.
To play mind games and make provocative statements is not only uncharitable, it is also a cheap shot. You can certainly criticise the fallout from the ban on currency notes and have an opinion, but if you point your flinty little fingers in accusations and suggest more than obliquely that the underbelly is dirtier than we know, then you are duty bound to show us the dirt. Till you are ready to spill the beans, it’s time to use your own toothpaste because you are just being foulmouthed.


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