Chief minister Raghubar Das with Baba Ramdev in Ranchi on Wednesday. Telegraph picture
Ranchi, Nov. 4: The ruling BJP's bitter diatribe against Shah Rukh Khan got nasty today when yoga practitioner Baba Ramdev said the actor should give up his Padmashree and all the money that had come his way following the award if he was a true patriot.
Dubbing the superstar's concern and candid remarks on the growing religious intolerance in the country as " hawabaazi", Ramdev said, "If he (SRK) is really willing to protest to show his patriotism, he must make a draft of all the money he made after winning the award (in 2005) and donate it to the Prime Minister's (relief) fund."
Inaugurating a model anganwadi in the state capital, in the presence of ministers Louise Marandi, C.P. Singh and Neera Yadav, Ramdev continued his tirade: "Else, I will think he (SRK) is just paying lip service to his masters (read the UPA) who gave him the (fourth) highest civilian honour."
Sources said the yoga practitioner, speaking to a local channel, also lambasted the liberal intelligentsia - writers, historians and filmmakers - who had returned their awards in protest.
Ramdev's anti-SRK remarks coincide with BJP lawmaker Yogi Adityanath drawing a bizarre parallel between the popular actor and 26/11 terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed of Pakistan. "Shah Rukh should understand that if Muslims don't see his films, he would be on the roads. There is no difference in what he and Hafiz Saeed say," Aditynath said today, not long after senior leader Kailash Vijayvargiya's tweet attack on the actor.
On his 50th birthday two days earlier, SRK had said that there was "extreme intolerance" in the country and not being secular was the worst thing one could do as a patriot.
"I think it is very brave of those returning their awards. I am on their side. If they tell me to join them on a march or a press conference, I would. Personally, it is too much of symbolism to return my awards. Just returning something. I am not a believer in that," the actor had told NDTV.
Reacting to his comments, BJP general secretary Vijayvargiya had tweeted yesterday, "Shah Rukh Khan lives in India, but his heart is in Pakistan. His films make crores here, but he finds India intolerant."
The BJP leader's retraction came on Twitter too. "I did not intent to hurt anyone," he said today hours before Adityanath refuelled anger.