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Yoga guru Baba Ramdev's party to contest in 543 Lok Sabha constituencies

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev Tuesday said that his Bharat Swabhiman Andolan would contest the next Lok Sabha elections in an effort to build a corruption-free India. He, however, ruled out joining the fray himself.

Ramdev, whose real name is Ramkishan Yadav, told reporters here that he would field candidates in all the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies.

"We will have seven-10 lakh members in every district in a year or two, and they will become a big deciding political force," he said, speaking in Hindi.

Stating that he himself would not contest elections, Ramdev said: "I will never contest elections and never take up any political position."

He said the next general election would be a watershed event, "when all the corrupt politicians will be wiped out" once the Bharat Swabhiman Andolan becomes a force to reckon with.

"One of the main objectives of the movement is to end corruption and to bring back more than Rs.300 lakh crore of Indian black money from abroad for the country's development," he said.

Ramdev, whose yoga lessons are followed by an estimated 85 million people on televisions and video, said the recent arrests of self-claimed holy men on criminal charges was "a very big conspiracy" even if some of them were indeed guilty.

"Some politicians and communal forces are conspiring to malign the name of Indian saints by trapping them in cases related to fake currency, rape, murder, sex scandal and drugs," he said.

Ramdev shot to fame by teaching traditional Indian yoga and breathing exercises at camps and on television through the channel "Astha", managed by his Patanjali Yogpeeth, a sprawling yoga retreat and Ayurveda centre on the Haridwar-Rishikesh highway in Uttarakhand.

"He had been campaigning for clean governance, better health, 100 per cent franchise, restoring the country's lost glory, a cleaner Ganga and recovery of black money for the last three years," a senior Patanjali Yogpeeth spokesman told IANS.

In an interview to IANS, Ramdev had earlier said he would not join active politics but "act as a facilitator to ensure a clean, green and proud India". (IANS)

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