Vadodara/New Delhi: As a massive outrage erupted today over his controversial comment that Rahul Gandhi visits Dalit homes for “honeymoon and picnic”, yoga guru Ramdev expressed regret to the dalit community even as an FIR was filed against him by Uttar Pradesh police for his remarks.
BJP came out in defence of the yoga guru saying he is a “saint” whose words should be viewed in the context in which they were made and not as per the perception of Congress leaders while Congress termed as “shameful” the remarks and demanded an unconditional apology from him as also Narendra Modi alleging the yoga guru is part of his coterie.
Ramdev, who was in Vadodara to attend a yoga camp, however, insisted the Congress vice president visited homes of the poor for “publicity stunt, picnic or tourism”. “The statement I made has been misrepresented. The term honeymoon period is over is commonly used in political language. I tried to use it in that sense,” Ramdev claimed.
“I had no intention to insult honourable Rahul Gandhi or Dalit community. But this is also true that Rahul Gandhi goes to houses of poor and uses that opportunity as publicity stunt, picnic or tourism,” he said, adding “I express regret if the use of that term has hurt the feelings of any community, especially Dalit community.”
Ramdev had said at a programme in Lucknow yesterday that Rahul Gandhi visited Dalit homes “for honeymoon and picnic”. “He goes to Dalits' house for honeymoon and picnic. Had he married a dalit girl, then his luck could have clicked and he would have become the Prime Minister,” Ramdev had said.
In Lucknow, an FIR was lodged against Ramdev at Mahanagar police station under relevant section of 171(g) (false statement in connection with an election) of IPC”, Additional Superintendent of Police Habibul Hassan told PTI. The FIR was lodged by police after analysing the video footage of Ramdev's statement.
Reacting sharply, Finance Minister P Chidambaram described “it is a shameful and despicable statement” by Ramdev. In an apparent attack on BJP, he said “I am ashamed that somebody can make a statement like this and still a political party can embrace it.”
The party fielded dalit leaders Kumari Selja and Krishna Tirath to attack Ramdev at their press briefing, with the former stating that the remarks by the yoga guru reflected a “perverse” mindset who has no regards and respect for dalit women and views them only as a “commodity”. “We strongly deplore his remarks and demand an unconditional apology both from him and Modi,” she said.
The Chairman of All India Mahila Congress Sobha Oza who sought to highlight Ramdev's alleged close association with Modi, saying Ramdev is one of the “nine jewels” of Modi and “is the most important figure in his coterie”. “...he says such remarks and Modi stays silent.