Yoga Day: Govt apologises for Ram Madhav's tweets on Hamid Ansari's absence

The government on Monday apologised to Vice-President Hamid Ansari, a yoga practitioner himself, for BJP general secretary Ram Madhav’s controversial tweets questioning his absence from the Yoga Day function on Rajpath.

Union minister Shripad Naik cited protocol to clarify that the vice-president can’t be invited to an event where the Prime Minister is chief guest.

“Unknowingly something happens, we apologise for that. It should have been avoided. It's a mistake, he (Madhav) agrees, he apologised. He withdrew his statement,” Naik said when asked to comment on the BJP leader’s controversial tweets on Sunday. His statement came following reports that the government is upset with the needless controversy triggered by Madhav’s tweets.

“When the Prime Minister is chief guest, then inviting the vice-president is not proper. That is protocol. That's why we did not send the invite to him. President and vice-president are above the Prime Minister in accordance with the order of precedence and we cannot invite them accordingly,” Naik said about the warrant of precedence.

Naik is the minister of state for AYUSH — the newly-formed ministry that organised the International Day of Yoga event on Rajpath.

“As far as the tweet is concerned, it was withdrawn and the matter is closed there and ends there,” said Madhav, a former RSS spokesperson, when asked about the controversy and the accusation that he was targeting the vice-president.

Madhav, who was deputed by the RSS last July to work with the BJP, said there is no further discussion on the issue from his side.

“I want the yoga event to be remembered for millions and millions of people who have participated in it. I do not want any further controversy over it or any issue,” he told reporters in Jammu.

The vice-president’s office said the matter is closed for them as Naik’s statement seems logical.

“For us, that’s the end of the matter,” it said.

Sources said Ansari does yoga regularly and did it on Sunday, too, at his residence.

Congress, the principal opposition party, however, was in no mood to let go of the controversy.

Finding fresh ammo to slam the BJP for communalising the yoga event, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “It is clear from the tweet of Shri Ram Madhav that communal polarisation was the main objective of the International Yoga Day. Communal polarisation is the only thing Mr. Modi, Mr. Amit Shah and Shri Ram Madhav know.”

Rajya Sabha’s Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded that the PM and the BJP president should also apologize for not inviting the VP in the event.

In a veiled dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP patriarch LK Advani said that several senior leaders of the party had made great contribution to yoga which is an age-old concept.


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