BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Monday took exception to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's charge that sections of the civil society and the Opposition had launched a systematic campaign against the UPA government and it was part of a conspiracy.
Mr. Gadkari, who received yoga guru Baba Ramdev here earlier in the day, asked if it was anti-national to build a movement against black money stashed away abroad. “Is it anti-national to demand that Indian black money be brought back for the country's well-being? I feel she should not have done so. She should rise above party politics and work to save and free the country from price rise, poverty and hunger.”
Appealing to other parties to join hands for bringing back black money, the BJP president maintained that on an issue of national importance such baseless allegations had been levelled for political gains.
“This is not proper and the people of the country will not agree with her. I would also pray to Soniaji to understand this movement. This is not against any political party or individual. It is against black money. This is for the welfare of the people,” Mr. Gadkari said.
Earlier in the day, eyebrows were raised when Mr. Gadkari touched the feet of Baba Ramdev when the yoga guru called on him to solicit his party's support in his fight to bring back black money and deal with corruption.
Defending his gesture, the BJP chief said: “Our culture tells us that when a man wearing saffron clothes visits you, you take his blessings. I feel proud that I took Ramdev Baba's blessings. It is our culture. Those who don't follow this culture may behave differently.”
Mr. Gadkari said his party fully supported Baba Ramdev's agitation. “I want to clearly state that this movement is not of any political party. And the BJP believes that concern for the common people should be above politics for gaining power.”
The yoga guru said his was not a political agitation and he had reached out to all parties, including the Congress, to seek their support.
“I have written to Sonia Gandhi, too, and sought an appointment. I will be meeting A.B. Bardhan [CPI], Sharad Yadav [JD-U], Uddhav Thackeray [Shiv Sena], Prakash Karat [CPI-M], Lalu Prasad [RJD] and Chandrababu Naidu [TDP],” Baba Ramdev said.