The yoga guru, however, insists that Rahul Gandhi visited homes of the poor for "publicity stunt, picnic or tourism"; BJP defends “saint” Ramdev

In the eye of a row over his comment that Rahul Gandhi visits Dalit homes for “honeymoon and picnic”, yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Saturday expressed regret to the Dalits but claimed his remarks were “misrepresented”.

The BJP, however, came out in defence of the yoga teacher, saying the words of the “saint” should be viewed in the context in which they were made and not as per the perception of Congress leaders.

Baba Ramdev, however, insisted the Congress vice-president visited homes of the poor for “publicity stunt, picnic or tourism”.

“The statement I made has been misrepresented. The term honeymoon period is over is commonly used in political language. I tried to use it in that sense,” he claimed.

“I had no intention to insult honourable Rahul Gandhi or Dalit community. But this is also true that Rahul Gandhi goes to houses of poor and uses that opportunity as publicity stunt, picnic or tourism,” he said, adding “I express regret if the use of that term has hurt the feelings of any community, especially Dalit community.”

The yoga guru was in Vadodara to attend a yoga camp organised by his Bharat Swabhiman Trust.

Baba Ramdev, who has been openly targeting the Congress and backing BJP’s prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi, has been booked by Uttar Pradesh police for his remarks against Mr. Gandhi made in Lucknow on Friday.

Baba Ramdev had said Mr. Gandhi visited Dalit homes “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,” Baba Ramdev had said.

BJP defends “saint” Ramdev

Meanwhile, the BJP on Saturday came out in defence of Baba Ramdev over the remarks. The party said the yoga teacher is a “saint” whose words should be viewed in the context in which they were made and not as per the perception of Congress leaders.

“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,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.

Asked why BJP was clarifying on Baba Ramdev who was not even a member of the party, party leader Udit Raj 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.”