Bengaluru: In a statement that could embarrass the Congress government in the state, social welfare minister H Anjaneya on Wednesday said yoga is for the “rich and lazy” and people who don’t have time to exercise.
Asked whether his department will organize yoga exercises for students from Morarji Desai residential schools, Anjaneya told reporters: “Yoga is only for those who do not have any daily activity. People who work in farms, those who sweat it out, cannot think of doing yoga, can they? They do not have time to exercise or even walk in the open.”
The minister’s remark is at variance with the Siddaramaiah government’s plan to celebrate International Yoga Day on June 21 in a big way. Actress Shilpa Shetty, national brand ambassador for yoga, will be part of the official event at Kanteerava Stadium.
Anjaneya said people must encourage children to play outdoors instead of doing yoga.
Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the minister said he must not waste his time professing the benefits of yoga. “He should instead spend more time running the country.”
Anjaneya’s statement drew a sharp attack from former chief minister Jagadish Shettar.
“It shows his cheap mentality and culture. Yoga has gained momentum not only in India, but all over the world. Many people have overcome their physical problems, stress and tension after practising yoga. Speaking badly of yoga is not good on the part of the minister,” the BJP functionary said.
Does Anjaneya disagree with Siddaramaiah, who had said yoga helped him to overcome his drowsiness, Shettar asked. “So is the CM lazy?”