International Yoga day celebrations in Delhi, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were not only about the mass presence but also the individual absence. Vice President Hamid Ansari's absenteeism triggered a controversy on Sunday. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ram Madhav tweeted questioning why Ansari was missing.
A screen shot of Ram Madhav's deleted tweet | Source: Twitter
Madhav also accused Rajya Sabha TV of 'completely' blacking out live telecast of the Yoga day event, despite it being 'run on taxpayers’ money'. Ansari being the Rajya Sabha chairman is the controlling authority of the channel.
In his counter statement, chief executive officer (CEO) of Rajya Sabha TV, Gurdeep Singh Sappal, later commented, “Baseless rumours. RSTV not just did live telecast of Rajpath event. But also had 3 documentaries, 1 special report today on Yoga”, he tweeted. He also posted the link to the programme on YouTube, saying, “For those who missed it, link to PM’s address on Yoga Day, carried Live on RSTV”.
The questioning and allegations levelled by Madhav had the potential to create more controversy but Madhav subsequently deleted the tweet and apologised to the VP, saying he later on learnt that Ansari was unwell.
Madhav deleted both his tweets including the apology tweet after the hashtag #IStandWithHamidAnsari started trending on Twitter.
But there were more twists to the story added later in the evening as the Vice President’s office said that that the information was not true, PTI reported. “Vice President was not sick. He was never invited for the yoga programme,” PTI reported.
“The Vice President only attends those programmes in which the minister concerned invites him as per protocol.”
Minister for Yoga and Traditional Medicine, Shripad Yasso Naik, said, "There is a warrant of precedence. When we call the Prime Minister, we cannot call the Vice President. They are above the Prime Minister, that's why we don't call them," reports CNN-IBN .
While Yoga day was celebrated successfully across the country, tweets flooded in support of Ansari. Madhav was said to have been doing 'foot in the mouth' asana .
This historic yoga day celebration was well accompanied by all the various controversies sparked. But at the end of the day, keeping all the controversies aside, it was a praiseworthy effort, well executed.