ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Demagogue, the State and Civil Society

A demagogue is able to make New Delhi panic and shoot itself in the foot.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s belated efforts to scuttle the dubious Baba Ramdev’s political ambitions show up a series of messy miscalculations.

Just when Baba Ramdev and his patrons in the Sangh parivar were about to get isolated, at one stroke the government helped him to bounce back by unleashing the police on his supporters at Ramlila grounds in the midnight of 4-5 June. This has turned the Baba into a hero. It is incredible that the government went to such lengths to first appease a demagogue whose demands included the death sentence for corrupt officials, and the abolition of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes. Now from his ashram in Haridwar, protected by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of Uttarakhand, he has given an open call to youth to undergo military training under his guidance. The long rope given hitherto by the UPA government to Ramdev and the support that he enjoys among a wide public spectrum, ranging from gullible believers in his miraculous healing powers to rich non-resident Indians promoting his image as a Hindu icon abroad, are now coming home to roost.

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