New Delhi/Lucknow, April 26:
A day after his comment on Rahul Gandhi visiting Dalit homes for his “honeymoon” sparked outrage, Baba Ramdev Saturday apologised and said he was misinterpreted, even as a police complaint was filed against the yoga guru in Lucknow.
“I did not mean to insult Rahul Gandhi or Dalits. Rahul Gandhi indulges in publicity with photos of him sitting in homes of Dalits. If my statement hurt the Dalits, I regret it,” Ramdev said Saturday.
Ramdev had Friday said in Lucknow: “He (Rahul Gandhi) goes to Dalits’ houses for honeymoon and picnic. Had he married a Dalit girl, his luck could have clicked and he would have become prime minister.”
A first information report has been registered in Lucknow against the yoga guru.
The Congress Saturday reacted strongly to the comment, accusing Ramdev of insulting Dalits and women.
“Yoga has a physical and spiritual dimension. The spiritual dimension is more important. How can someone call himself a yoga guru with this kind of mentality?” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
“This is an insult to Dalits and women, all for a deep seated venom for Rahul Gandhi. I think people have forgotten that Baba Ramdev has spent all his energy on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and his party in the last few weeks,” Singhvi said.
Three women leaders of the Congress accused Ramdev of being “anti-women”.
“These are extremely objectionable comments and we strongly condemn them. These remarks about Dalits and women show his mentality. He claims to be a Yoga guru. Does our culture teach him to talk this way about Dalits? Are Dalit women commodities to be used?” said Kumari Selja, former social justice and empowerment minister.
She was accompanied by Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath and Congress’s women’s wing head Shobha Ozha.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, meanwhile, defended Ramdev, who has extended support to Narendra Modi.
“Ramdev’s comment was twisted. He was referring to the ‘honeymoon period’ that is used in common figure of speech… What he meant was that Rahul Gandhi casually goes to Dalit homes, and does nothing for them,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.