Terming as "shameful and despicable" Ramdev's controversial remarks against Rahul Gandhi, Congress today demanded an unconditional apology from him as well as BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi alleging the yoga guru is part of his coterie.
"It is a shameful and despicable statement," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said while reacting to remarks by Ramdev that Rahul visits Dalit homes for honeymoon.
In an apparent attack on BJP, he said "I am ashamed that somebody can make a statement like this and still a political party can embrace it."
The party fielded dalit leaders Kumari Selja and Krishna Tirath to attack Ramdev at their press briefing, with the former stating that the remarks by the yoga guru reflected a "perverse" mindset who has no regards and respect for dalit women and views them only as a "commodity".
"We strongly deplore his remarks and demand an unconditional apology both from him and Modi," she said.
Ramdev's remarks were also deplored by the Chairman of All India Mahila Congress Sobha Oza who sought to highlight Ramdev's alleged close association with Modi, saying Ramdev is one of the "nine jewels" of Modi and "is the most important figure in his coterie".
"...he says such remarks and Modi stays silent. So it seems Modi endorses his remarks, he should answer to the country whether he endorses such remark, if no then he should apologise to dalits, along with Ramdev," Oza said.
Selja said BJP makes good use of Ramdev to garner votes and slammed the party's defence of the yoga guru.
"... Does BJP support him ? They should answer it..We say that he, along with BJP, should give unconditional apology and Narendra Modi himself should apologise," she said. Picking a hole in Gujarat's development model, she alleged Modi government has failed to uplift the lives of Dalits and provide reservations to them in government jobs.
"In Modi's Gujarat since 2004, there has been no meeting with regard to the SC and ST sub-plan. Besides, 2.5 lakh people were provided jobs on contractual basis...was the reservation policy taken into account"? she said.
She said the BJP manifesto, which has "broadly copied" the promises made by Congress, has not mentioned about bringing a legislation as pledged by Congress to provide reservation under SC and ST subplan, reflecting their mindset towards the Dalits.