Ansari row: Congress wants PM to say sorry, Naik says Madhav apologised

New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The Congress on Monday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s apology over BJP general secretary Ram Madhav’s tweets about Vice President Hamid Ansari’s absence from the Yoga Day event but AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik said the leader had apologised and the matter should be put to rest.

The Congress accused the Bharartiya Janata Party of playing divisive politics and sought the prime minister’s apology over Madhav’s tweets taking a jibe at Ansari’s absence. He had, however, later deleted the posts.

“Prime minister and the BJP general secretary must apologise on this issue. The vice president was not invited due to protocol. It was an effort to malign him,” senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said at a press conference here.

His colleague Jairam Ramesh was more critical, saying: “Ram Madhav’s comment shows that polarisation was the intention behind Yoga Day.”

“Communal polarisation is the only thing Modi knows. The obnoxious comments by Ram Madhav is a deliberate attempt at polarisation,” he added.

However, Naik defended the government’s stand on not inviting Ansari to the celebrations at Rajpath, citing protocol.

“We can’t invite the vice president when the prime minister is the chief guest,” he told reporters.

On the Congress demand for an apology, he said there was no need for the government to give an apology to the vice president as the remarks were made by an individual.

“It is individual issue. He has apologised,” Naik told IANS.

The controversy sparked off after tweets from Madhav questioned the vice president’s absence.

“Two questions. Did RS TV dat runs on tax-payers money completely blackout Yoga Day event? While President participated VP gave a miss,” Madhav tweeted on Sunday evening, when the government was celebrating the International Yoga Day event as a success.

However, in another tweet, Madhav said, “I am informed dat d VP was unwell. I withdrew my tweet. My apologies because d institution of VP deserves respect.”

Both tweets were later deleted.

The vice president’s office later clarified that he was not unwell but had not been invited for the programme.

It said the vice president only attends those programmes in which the minister concerned invites him as per protocol.

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