Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy Tuesday said that although yoga guru Baba Ramdev had apologized and expressed regret for his remarks on Dalits, he is being targeted by the Congress, as it felt threatened by his popularity.
"It has been happening from long time in the country. All the saints have been harassed and insulted by the Congress. Sonia Gandhi is specifically upset with Baba Ramdev because he can gather huge crowds and because people respect him. They just want to insult him on purpose," said Subramanian. "Ramdev has clarified and regretted his comments; still attempts are being made to trouble him. He did not make this remark in a derogatory manner. We have a few Dalits in our party as well, and even they clarified that they do not have a problem with what he said," he said.
"There are many saints who are a part of the BJP, but they are scared of Ramdev. They cannot even criticize him saying that he is a Brahmin and is trying to claim his superiority by insulting the lower castes. He too comes from a backward class, so they are looking for other ways to target him," he added. Baba Ramdev has been booked under the under the SC/ST Act for his comment that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has "picnic and honeymoon" in Dalit homes, and is likely to be arrested.
The Election Commission has stated Baba Ramdev cannot hold any meetings till May 16, the day results of general elections will be announced. The ban comes after remark of Ramdev, who had said vice-president of the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, visits Dalit households for ' picnics and honeymoon', which triggered a storm especially among the Dalit community.
EC issued revised guidelines to stop these 'malicious' statements and said the perpetrators of such comments would not be allowed to hold campaigning programmes. Reportedly, two separate First Information Reports (FIRs) were filed against Ramdev, including one by police in Uttar Pradesh.
However, Ramdev defended himself saying that those who misinterpreted the language should be penalised and not him.