In remarks that could cause a controversy, Congress party has said that it “perhaps made a mistake” by allotting land to Ramdev for his food park while it was in power.
“We perhaps made a mistake (by allotting the land) but we did not give him the status that he enjoys. When we make a mistake, we admit the mistake. We do not cover-up,” party spokesman Tom Vadakkan said at a briefing today.
His remark came in the wake of a question over the yoga guru’s close associate Acharya Balkrishna entering the annual Forbes list of India’s 100 Richest People at the 48th position with a net worth of USD 2.5 billion, owing to his 97 per cent holding in Patanjali Ayurveda.
“You ask Forbes on which basis…You also ask the government about the manufacturing licence…about noodles”, he said.
To a question that Ramdev was given land during the Congress-led UPA regime when Subodh Kant Sahay was the Minister concerned, he said “we perhaps made a mistake.”
Ramdev is a known detractor of Congress and is considered close to the Modi government.
In the 2014 assembly elections, he had openly endorsed Modi’s candidature and campaigned for the BJP candidates.
There are allegations that the BJP governments in several states have been quick to reward him by allotting lands to enable him to expand his business empire.
The BJP’s reign at the Centre has coincided a phenomenal rise in Ramdev’s business empire with his partner, Balkrishna, making to Forbes’ list of 100 most richest Indians for the first time. According to reports, Balkrishna holds more than 90% stake in Patanjali, which is known for buying media space on several Indian news channels.
His detractors have often complained that one reason why Indian media has been apprehensive about criticising the self-proclaimed yoga guru is largely due the adverse impact on their overall revenue, should he pulls the plug on advertisements.