21/04/2015 4:19 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Ramdev Declines Cabinet Minister Status, Wants To Remain 'Baba'

Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev performs yoga at Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati during the Maha Kumbh festival in Allahabad, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. Millions of Hindu pilgrims are expected to attend the Maha Kumbh festival, which is one of the world's largest religious gatherings that lasts 55 days and falls every 12 years. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

RAI, Sonepat — Yoga guru Ramdev today turned down Haryana government's offer of cabinet rank status, saying he was not looking for a ministerial post and wants to remain a 'baba'.

Ramdev made the announcement at a function organised by the Haryana government in Rai, about 60 km from Delhi, to honour him.

The Haryana government had faced opposition attack over the move, with the Congress accusing it of "going out of the way to please Ramdev".

"For your decision to bestow me with this honour, I thank you (Haryana govt) profusely, but I want to humbly state that I want to serve you by remaining a 'baba' and a 'fakir'. What you have given, I want to thank you for that but very respectfully I want to hand it back to you," Ramdev said here.

He, will, however, continue to be State's brand ambassador to promote Yoga and Ayurveda.

Opposition Congress had opposed the move of making Ramdev brand ambassador and subsequently being granted the Cabinet status rank.

In his address to the gathering here today, in which Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, his ministers Ram Bilas Sharma, Anil Vij, Kavita Jain among others were present, Ramdev said, "I want to humbly thank CM Khattar and entire Cabinet of Haryana and want to state that before (Haryana) polls (last year) many people had said that baba (Ramdev) has so many MPs.

"After polls they said baba has so many ministers...what is more important than how many ministers, MPs, MLAs how many CMs baba has, is the fact that Narendra Modi, he too is baba's PM, he is country's PM, therefore he is our PM." Ramdev said that he had worked selflessly to realise the mission of making Modi as the country's Prime Minister by treating it as "rashtra dharma".

"Now, that PM is ours, entire Cabinet is ours, Haryana CM is ours and his Cabinet is ours, so let baba remain a baba...I want to serve you like this only (by remaining a baba).

"Service to humanity is my only objective, I'm not looking for any ministerial position or status," Ramdev said.

"I have to work for my country by rising above these honours and rewards," Ramdev said, adding that even when talks about Padma awards were going on, he had stated that a "fakir is a fakir" and is above such awards.

On April 13, the Haryana Government had decided to give status of Cabinet Minister to Ramdev, for which a notification was to be issued later on.

Official sources had said that those granted "status equivalent to Cabinet minister" were not entitled to salary and allowances payable to a legislator sworn-in as a Cabinet minister.

They are, however, entitled to protocol facilities, including escort and state guest status at official rest houses.

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