New Delhi(web team): Ram Madhav, the national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party and a prominent leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, launched a veiled attack Sunday afternoon on Vice President Hamid Ansari via Twitter, questioning his absence from the International Yoga Day event organised in New Delhi the same morning.
Madhav also accused Rajya Sabha TV – the public service broadcaster run by Parliament’s upper house – of blacking out the Yoga Day event “completely” despite being run on taxpayers money. This allegation too was an attack on Ansari, who is chairperson of the RS and the controlling authority for the channel.
Here is the tweet Madhav sent out:
Vice President Hamid Ansari’s office has told NDTV he was not invited to the Yoga Day event in Delhi after his absence was questioned by former RSS leader and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav.
Mr Madhav had first tweeted, questioning Mr Ansari’s absence at the Yoga Day programme at Rajpath. Later, he deleted it and apologised, saying he later learnt that the Vice President was unwell.
The Vice President’s office said the report of Mr Ansari’s illness was not correct. “Vice President was not sick. He was never invited for the yoga programme,” said Mr Ansari’s office in a statement to NDTV. “The Vice President only attends those programmes in which the minister concerned invites him as per protocol.”
Sources in Mr Ansari’s office said he was unhappy about the controversy.
Mr Madhav had also accused Rajya Sabha TV, the state-run broadcaster, of blacking out the live telecast of the Yoga Day event “completely” despite it being run on taxpayers’ money. As Rajya Sabha Chairman, Mr Ansari is the controlling authority for the channel.
This was contradicted by Gurdeep Singh Sappal, CEO of Rajya Sabha TV. “Baseless rumours. RSTV not just did live telecast of Rajpath event. But also had 3 documentaries, 1 special report today on Yoga,” he tweeted.
Apart from Madhav, the right-wing columnist Swapan Dasgupta also attacked RSTV for allegedly boycotting the yoga day event
India created two world records today with the yoga performance at Rajpath, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister, who was expected to only address the gathering, made a surprise appearance on Rajpath with a yoga mat.
Giant digital screens beamed the event live, security arrangements rivalled the Republic Day celebrations.This is the second time this year that Vice President Ansari has come under fire from RSS-BJP supporters. On January 26, some of them claimed that he had disrespected the national flag by not saluting it and tweeted a photograph of him standing to attention while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar saluted during the Republic Day march past.
The VP’s office later issued a note clarifying the official protocol on the matter: “As per the protocol, when the national anthem is played, the Principal Dignitary and persons in uniform take the salute. Those in civil dress stand in attention.