BJP divided over ‘saint’ Ramdev, yoga guru booked

BJP leaders are divided over yoga-guru Baba Ramdev’s objectionable comment against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Ramdev had said Rahul goes to houses of Dalits for honeymoon and picnic.

While senior party leader Yashwant Sinha came down heavily on the yoga guru for making such objectionable comment, party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain claimed that his ‘honeymoon’ comment was misinterpreted by Congress leaders.

Contrary to Sinha and taking the side of Hussain, another party leader Udit Raj claimed that the word ‘honeymoon’ has a wider meaning. ‘I don’t think he had said anything wrong. I am a Dalit leader and would have opposed the comment, if Ramdev had said something wrong,’ he said.

Supporting Raj’s view, Hussain said, ‘Ramdev is a saint. When he selects words like honeymoon, which is an English word, the context should be understood and its usage seen and not be misconstrued. It did not have the kind of meaning that Congress leaders thought it did as per their own perceptions.’

Earlier on Saturday, Sinha said, ‘Although the yoga guru has taken back his words and an FIR has been filed, it would have been better had he not used that word at all. There is a clear mandate and one should not make such comments.’
On Friday, Ramdev slammed Gandhi in Lucknow saying, ‘He goes to Dalit houses for honeymoon and picnic. Had he married a Dalit girl, his luck could have clicked and he would have become the prime minister.’

Sensing that his comment had put the BJP in an embarrassing situation, Ramdev tried some damage-control exercise and claimed he did not make the remarks in a negative sense and had no intention of insulting Dalits.

‘People have wrongly interpreted my honeymoon comment and I did not intend to insult Dalits. I did not even mean to insult Rahul Gandhi even. He indulges in publicity with photos of him in the homes of Dalits. If my statement have hurt the Dalits, I regret it,’ Ramdev said.

Following his comment, Ramdev was booked by Uttar Pradesh police for his controversial remarks. Recently, another senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley advised party leaders and supporters that since there is clarity in the campaign, party leaders should refrain from making controversial statements.

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