EC bans Baba Ramdev camps in Himachal Pradesh
Ahead of BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi’s rallies in Himachal Pradesh, yoga guru Baba Ramdev was forced to cancel his yoga shivir in Kangra town on Monday after the Election Commission imposed a ban on his camps in the state.
A petition filed in the Himachal Pradesh High Court seeking its intervention to hold the camps failed to provide any relief to Ramdev after the Division Bench quashed the plea on Monday saying the matter does not warrant the court’s intervention.
Earlier in the day, Kangra Deputy Commissioner C Pualrasu, also the Returning Officer, withdrew permission granted to Ramdev for holding the yoga shivir, citing the EC’s latest guidelines. Police were also directed to remain alert in case Ramdev tries to defy the EC’s order. Beside Kangra, Ramdev’s Patanjali Yoga Peeth was set to hold yoga shivirs in Chamba and Rehan.
“The organisers were told that the EC’s guidelines were very clear and no such (politically) surrogate function could be allowed. The permission granted by the administration has been withdrawn. The EC’s circular has been forwarded to all Deputy Commissioners and SPs, advising them not to allow such camps and functions, which also covers community feasts during the poll season,” said Chief Electoral Officer (Himachal Pradesh) Narinder Chauhan.
Officials said the EC had taken note of reports that “political activities” were being carried out through non-political outfits to help certain candidates and had issued instruction to all the Chief Electoral Officers on April 18.
Ramdev, who reached Kangra on Monday and was received by senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar at the airport, slammed the EC and alleged that his events were cancelled on the behest of Congress. “My shivirs are non-political. I don’t talk politics in the camps but when I speak on politics, I hold a separate press conference. It is clear that the administration has taken the decision on the orders of political masters and the Congress,” he alleged.
He also accused the Congress of “distorting” his “honeymoon” remarks.