M A I N   N E W S

BJP, NDA partners’ support to Ramdev worries Cong
Anita Katyal
Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, August 14
The open support extended by the BJP and its NDA partners to Baba Ramdev’s agitation against black money has become an added worry for the Congress as it fears their joint campaign will boost the electoral prospects of the saffron party by keeping the public spotlight on the UPA government’s failures.

While sceptical Congress leaders dismiss the yoga guru’s protest as a passing phase, there is an underlying concern in the party that the campaign will help the BJP, especially in states where it is in power and faces anti-incumbency by deflecting attention from its deficiencies.

“There is no doubt that Baba Ramdev is known to be erratic but the issues of corruption and black money he has raised have touched a chord. Now that he has joined hands with the BJP in their oust-Congress campaign, it will benefit the saffron party in states where it is heading the governments,” remarked a senior Congress leader.

The first test will be in this year-end Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat where the BJP is in power. Congress leaders have admitted that the big challenge they face in these states is to keep the focus on the poor performance of the BJP governments. The BJP campaign, on the other hand, will get a boost from Baba Ramdev’s movement which will help it to highlight the scams and scandals of the UPA government at the Centre.

The Congress faces a bigger challenge in next year’s Assembly elections when it is hoping to dislodge the two-term BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and retain Delhi and Rajasthan.

Although Team Anna’s anti-graft movement is also directed against the Congress, the party believes its decision to float a political party would result in its marginalisation because of inherent internal contradictions. Baba Ramdev, on the other hand, can wreak more damage as his support base extends into rural areas and he has the capacity to mobilise large crowds.

Banks on Churning within BJP

While Congress cadres lament their party’s inability in countering the anti-graft movements, they are banking on the churning within the BJP over their party’s decision to align itself openly with the yoga guru.

I don’t think our party president should have shared the dias with Baba Ramdev.
— A BJP leader





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