The Congress Saturday demanded an apology from yoga guru Ramdev and his prosecution under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for his remarks that Rahul Gandhi visits houses of Dalits for “honeymoon and picnic”. The party dragged Narendra Modi into the controversy, alleging Ramdev was part of his coterie.
“Shameful. Despicable statement. I am ashamed that somebody can make such a statement and still a political party can embrace such a person,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram said. Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said, “Ramdev’s remark is anti-Dalit. He must publicly apologise. We would like Modi and BJP to react to Ramdev’s anti-Dalit remark.”
The Congress also fielded Dalit leaders Kumari Selja and Krishna Tirath to take on Ramdev. Arguing that Ramdev’s remarks reflected a “perverse” mindset, Selja demanded an unconditional apology from him as also Modi who she said was silent.
Congress women’s wing chief Sobha Oza called Ramdev one of the “nine jewels” of Modi. Oza sought Ramdev’s prosecution under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The Left too targeted Ramdev. “He should be prosecuted under the SC/ST Act,” CPM politburo member Brinda Karat said.
The BJP defended Ramdev, with spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain saying, “Ramdev is a saint. When he selects words like honeymoon, which is an English word, the context should be understood and its usage should not be misconstrued.”