Ramdev declines Cabinet Minister status, wants to remain 'baba'

Rai (Sonepat): Yoga guru Ramdev on Tuesday turned down Haryana government's offer of cabinet rank status, saying he was not looking for a ministerial post and wants to remain a 'baba'.

Ramdev made the announcement at a function organised by the Haryana government in Rai, about 60 km from Delhi, to honour him. The Haryana government had faced opposition attack over the move, with the Congress accusing it of 'going out of the way to please Ramdev'.

Ramdev declines Cabinet Minister status, wants to remain 'baba'Baba Ramdev. File pic.

"For your decision to bestow me with this honour, I thank you (Haryana govt) profusely, but I want to humbly state that I want to serve you by remaining a 'baba' and a 'fakir'. What you have given, I want to thank you for that but very respectfully I want to hand it back to you," Ramdev said.

He, will, however, continue to be State's brand ambassador to promote Yoga and Ayurveda. Opposition Congress had opposed the move of making Ramdev brand ambassador and subsequently being granted the Cabinet status rank.

In his address to the gathering in Rai on Tuesday, in which Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, his ministers Ram Bilas Sharma, Anil Vij, Kavita Jain among others were present, Ramdev said, "I want to humbly thank CM Khattar and entire Cabinet of Haryana and want to state that before (Haryana) polls (last year) many people had said that baba (Ramdev) has so many MPs.

"After polls they said baba has so many ministers...what is more important than how many ministers, MPs, MLAs how many CMs baba has, is the fact that Narendra Modi, he too is baba's PM, he is country's PM, therefore he is our PM." Ramdev said that he had worked selflessly to realise the mission of making Modi as the country's Prime Minister by
treating it as 'rashtra dharma'.

"Now, that PM is ours, entire Cabinet is ours, Haryana CM is ours and his Cabinet is ours, so let baba remain a baba...I want to serve you like this only (by remaining a baba). "Service to humanity is my only objective, I'm not looking for any ministerial position or status," Ramdev said. "I have to work for my country by rising above these honours and rewards,"

Ramdev said, adding that even when talks about Padma awards were going on, he had stated that a 'fakir is a fakir' and is above such awards.

On April 13, the Haryana Government had decided to give status of Cabinet Minister to Ramdev, for which a notification was to be issued later on. Official sources had said that those granted 'status equivalent to Cabinet minister' were not entitled to salary and allowances payable to a legislator sworn-in as a Cabinet minister.

They are, however, entitled to protocol facilities, including escort and state guest status at official rest houses.

Asked about Ramdev's decision to decline the offer, Khattar said the Haryana government respects the Yoga Guru's decision. "We had decided to bestow the highest honour on him (giving cabinet status rank). But in view of his decision, our respect towards 'rishi' and 'munis' and the traditions set by them has further increased," Khattar, who touched Ramdev's feet before garlanding him, said.

Minutes before Ramdev's address, the Haryana Chief Minister had mentioned the state government's decision to accord him cabinet status. "Whenever swamiji will be in Haryana, he will be our state guest. We have decided to grant him cabinet status rank," he said.

Even Haryana's Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma and Health Minister Anil Vij in their address to the gathering mentioned the state government's decision to give the cabinet status rank to the yoga guru. "He will be our State guest. We are your 'charno ki dhool'," Ram Bilas said, adding Ramdev's stature was 'very high' and the move to give him cabinet rank was merely a 'small gesture'.

Ram Bilas also mentioned his government's move to introduce teaching of Bhagavad Gita and Yoga in schools across
the state. "Keep guiding us in this endeavour," the Minister said, while pointing towards Ramdev.

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