New Delhi: Yoga guru Ramdev came out in support of controversial BJP leader Sadhvi Pragya Thakur calling her a nationalist who was arrested on the basis of mere suspicion and tortured in jail for nine years as if she were a terrorist.
The yoga guru was in the city to accompany Ravi Shankar Prasad while the union minister filed nomination for Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency on Friday.
“It was gunaah ki parakashtha (the height of atrocity). You arrest a person just on the basis of mere suspicion and make her undergo physical and mental torture for nine years. The stress that she had to endure weakened her physically and she got afflicted with cancer. She is not a terrorist but a nationalist lady,” Ramdev told reporters here.
“We should show some empathy for the woman and try to understand her ordeal and the bitterness it must have given rise to”, he said at a news conference earlier in the day when asked to comment on the controversial statement by Pragya Thakur, the Malegaon blasts accused, that former Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare was killed in the 26/11 attack because of her “curse”.
Karkare had suspected her of being a “Hindu terrorist”.
However, when asked whether he would go to Bhopal to campaign for her, Ramdev quipped “What I have said is enough to provide you with headlines. Please be content with that”.
The yoga guru was quick to say that he usually did not accompany political leaders when they filed their nomination papers but made an exception in the case of Prasad, whom he considers mangalkari (auspicious) for the city of Pataliputra (the name by which Patna was known in ancient times) just like Modi (PM) is for the country”.
Showering praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the yoga guru said “Modi has only one agenda and that is to make India a superpower. He works 16-20 hours per day towards that objective. And he has single mindedness as he has no family or any other distractions”.
To queries on Congress president Rahul Gandhi, he said “I do not want our country to become a single-party democracy. There should be space for the opposition. But I must say that Modi appears like a mountain in front of whom all other challengers look like dwarfs.”
About the Congress not fielding Priyanka Gandhi from Varanasi, he said, “Had she fought against Modi it would have been an interesting fight. Had Mayawati and Akhilesh thrown their weight behind her, the contest would have been historic. But sadly, we were deprived of being witness to an electoral battle which would have given the media the thrill of a T20 match”.
He evaded a query on allegations made by RJD that its jailed supremo was being meted out a harsh treatment in Ranchi where he was serving sentences in a number of fodder scam cases at the behest of the BJP, which is in power at the Centre as well as in Jharkhand.
“On the one hand is the Lalu parivar, on the other hand, is BJP parivar. Please spare me and do not drag me in it,” Ramdev who is known to be close to the RJD supremo, said.
To a query about his infrequent visits to Bihar despite having been declared the states brand ambassador by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar years ago, the Yoga guru said At a time when the state had a very bad image and its people used to be ridiculed, I used to stoutly oppose such stereotyping despite not belonging to it. I have and will always continue to defend the glory of Bihar.
“I am a devotee of Lord Krishna, who has Bihari as one of his sobriquets”, Ramdev remarked in a lighter vein.
About the much-publicized battle in Begusarai where former JNU students union chief Kanhaiya Kumar is fighting on a CPI ticket, Ramdev said “I know only one Kanhaiya the one who resides in Vrindavan. As far as Giriraj Singh (BJP candidate and union minister) is concerned, he will win hands down”.
To queries about the presence in the city of CPI(M) Politburo member Brinda Karat, who had in the past targetted the Yoga guru over his business model, he said “Who is this Brinda I do not know”.