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Ramdev says `honeymoon` remark misinterpreted, apologises; BJP gives mixed reactions

By Sushmita Dutta | Last Updated: Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 18:11

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: A day after his controversial remark on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Saturday regretted his statement saying that people have interpreted his `honeymoon` comment wrongly and if it has hurt the Dalit sentiments then he is regretful.

"People have interpreted my `honeymoon` comment wrongly. I did not intend to insult Dalits," Ramdev said.

According to a news report, the yoga guru has withdrawn his `honeymoon` statement and apologised.

"I did not mean to insult Rahul Gandhi or Dalits. He indulges in publicity with photos of him sitting in their homes. If my statement hurt the Dalits, I regret it," Ramdev said.

Yesterday, Ramdev had said that Rahul Gandhi goes to the houses of Dalits 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 at a programme in Lucknow.
Ramdev added that unlike Rahul, Narendra Modi and he had not become "fakir" (celibate) under compulsion.

"Us bechare ki bhi kismat kharab hai (Rahul is unlucky)", Ramdev said.

"His (Rahul`s) mother says that if you marry a foreigner girl, then you cannot become the PM and this boy does not want to marry an Indian girl. His mother wants that first he becomes the PM and then marry a foreigner," he added.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today gave a mixed reaction over Ramdev`s controversial remark.

Taking to reporters, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha today criticised Baba Ramdev`s `honeymoon` remark regarding Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, saying that although the yoga guru has taken back his words, it would have been better had he not used that word at all.

"Ramdev ji has taken his words back and an FIR has been filed. But it would have been better had he not used that word at all," Sinha said.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain meanwhile came out in defence of Ramdev.

"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 as Congress leaders were viewing it as per their own perception," Hussain said.

Another BJP leader Udit Raj, a Dalit, said Ramdev has not said anything "wrong" against Dalits and his intention against them was also not "wrong".

"The word honeymoon is viewed in different contexts. There is honeymoon between parties, people and used for the business community. It is also used to say that (Arvind) Kejriwal`s honeymoon has ended. It should be seen in this context and no wrong meaning should be construed to Ramdev`s words," he said.

Udit said the word honeymoon has a wider meaning and does not have just one meaning but many, and he being a Dalit leader would have himself opposed him if Ramdev would have said something wrong.

"The meaning of the word and the intention behind its usage should be viewed in the right context. Ramdev is not of those kind that he would use such words in a bad context. His intention towards Dalits is not wrong," he said.

He said by merely eating or sleeping in the houses of Dalits does not change their lives as projected by Gandhi.

"Why does Rahul Gandhi not invite Dalits to his own house," he said, questioning why Congress has not been able to uplift Dalits despite being in power for so long in India.

On the FIR against Ramdev, Udit Raj, who is BJP candidate from North West Delhi, claimed Congress is unnerved at the fact that Dalits were supporting BJP.

Asked why BJP was clarifying on Ramdev who was not even a member of the party, he said, "even though this matter is personal, we need to give a clarification as Ramdev has been supporting BJP. That is why it is our duty to support him. So there was a need to clarify from BJP side."

Earlier in the day, Ramdev was booked by Uttar Pradesh police for his controversial remarks targeting Rahul Gandhi that drew flak from various quarters with Congress demanding that he tender a public apology as he had insulted Dalits.

"An FIR has been lodged against Baba Ramdev at Mahanagar police station under relevant section of section 171(g) IPC (false statement in connection with an election)," Additional Superintendent of Police Habibul Hassan told.

The FIR was lodged by police after analysing video clipping of Ramdev`s statement made yesterday.

With agency inputs

First Published: Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 17:53

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