Unholy synthesis of religion and politics: Narendra Modi and Baba Ramdev

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Unholy synthesis of religion and politics: Narendra Modi and Baba Ramdev

Post by Rashmun on Wed May 24, 2017 6:15 am

Narendra Modi leaned to whisper in the ear of the man sitting cross-legged and barefoot next to him, the one clad in saffron robes with a long beard and squinty gaze. It was late in the afternoon of March 23, 2014 in New Delhi and the start of national elections was a fortnight away.

A few minutes later, the yoga guru and entrepreneur known as Baba Ramdev turned to a microphone and urged the crowd before him to mobilize votes for Modi: “You’ll make other people understand, won’t you? You won’t sit at home, will you?” The crowd roared back, “No!”

Modi grinned. Ramdev laughed.

The politician and the co-founder of a billion-dollar consumer products business were both headed to the pinnacle of a right-wing Hindu movement that seeks to shape the destiny of the world’s fastest-growing major economy. About two months after the rally, when voting had rolled across the vast country, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the long-ruling Congress Party from power.

Modi had prevailed, in part, with promises to reform the economy and root out corruption. His business-friendly language won widespread praise. But it was also his trumpeting of a Hindu nationalist message – the idea that India should be ruled as a nation by and for Hindus – that helped propel him to victory...

Since Modi came to power, Ramdev’s company has received more than an estimated $46 million in discounts for land acquisitions in states controlled by the BJP, according to a Reuters review of state government documents, interviews with officials and real estate estimates. It gained access to other land free of charge. The firm, Patanjali, has also received something of an official approval from a newly-created ministry and BJP leaders.

It is a partnership that reveals the inner workings of influence and money in Modi’s India, where the relatively secular world view of the Congress party he ousted is being chipped away.


http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/politics-and-religion-as-bjp-government-rises-so-does-yoga-tycoon-baba-ramdev/story-v5k2qSB8CA83kD2IGh4yHP.html


Rashmun

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