Athawale told journalists on Sunday that Ramdev had hurt the sentiments of Dalits across the country by his remark. The RPI(A) leader sought legal action against the yoga guru for the remark, notwithstanding that he had apologised and even asked forgiveness. Ramdev had said at a function in Lucknow on Friday that the Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, visited Dalit homes 'for honeymoon and picnic'. He subsequently said that he had no intention to insult Dalits and that his remark had been misinterpreted.
Athawale's RPI(A) is in an alliance with the BJP and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. On Sunday, Athawale said it was all right for Ramdev to criticise Gandhi's visits to Dalit homes as tourism, but the yoga guru should have avoided making inappropriate remarks about the community.
"While Narendra Modi is talking about development, other leaders should not be making such statements," Athawale said. He also threatened to launch an agitation if action was not taken against Ramdev. Asked whether he had thought about leaving the NDA on account of this incident, Athawale said, "Ramdev is not part of the NDA. He is just supporting the alliance. That does not mean action should not be taken against him. But there's no question of exiting the NDA."
Athawale also said political leaders should not make personal attacks against each other and that they should address the issues of the people in their campaign speeches.