Yoga guru Baba Ramdev is having no trouble meeting the leaders of most political parties. Except for the Congress, that is. He has sought time with Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister; so far, they have not acquiesced. The Baba has said that if he meets Sonia Gandhi, he would like to discuss everything from Bofors to Coal-gate, corruption scandals that dog the Congress-past and Congress-present.
The Congress' main allies, though, have been clearing their schedules to meet with Baba Ramdev and express their support for his campaign against corruption and black money.
Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party met him this morning. Mr Yadav provides external support to the UPA. Last week, Baba Ramdev had met Sharad Pawar and Ajit Singh, who participate in the UPA government led by the Congress. Mr Yadav said he supports Baba Ramdev and then walked out of the joint press conference after reporters pointed out that he has been accused of corruption by Team Anna, the activists who Baba Ramdev is pairing with. Sort of.
Baba Ramdev wants the government to take urgent measures to recover crores of black money or un-taxed income routed by Indians into foreign bank accounts. When he announced last month that he would try to meet the leader of every political party, his first stop was at the home of BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
While Mr Gadkari touched his feet, Mr Pawar shared an awkward hug initiated by the yoga icon.
Baba Ramdev has also affiliated himself - with some tugging and pulling- with anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and his team of activists. Their focus continues to be the anti-graft Lokpal Bill. The proposed legislation was shelved recently, after political parties could not reconcile their differences over its main features. The Bill has been sent to a parliamentary committee for more discussion and review - it's effectively in cold storage, the angry activists say.
While Mr Pawar met Baba Ramdev, the minister has been accused, along with 13 others and the Prime Minister, of corruption by Team Anna. When asked if his courtesy call on Mr Pawar might displease his partners on Team Anna, the Baba said he was not in the habit of providing character certificates and that his sole agenda was to build support across parties for the need to recover black money.