New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari's office said tonight that he was not invited to the Yoga Day event in the capital after his absence was questioned by senior BJP and RSS leader Ram Madhav. Madhav had deleted a tweet questioning Ansari's absence and then apologising to him saying he later learnt that the Vice President was unwell.
The Vice President's office said that was not correct. "Vice President was not sick. He was never invited for the yoga programme," it said, adding, "the Vice President only attends those programmes in which the Minister concerned invites him as per protocol".
Madhav also accused Rajya Sabha TV, the public service broadcaster run by Parliament's Upper House, of blacking out live telecast of the Yoga Day event "completely" despite being run on taxpayers money. As Rajya Sabha Chairman, Ansari is the controlling authority for the channel.
Vice President Hamid Ansari. File pic/AFP
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. As the topic trended, Madhav deleted both the tweets including his apology.
Later, in a statement, Rajya Sabha TV CEO Gurdeep Singh Sappal said that the channel had carried live coverage of all major Yoga Day functions. He said that the channel had broadcast live two functions attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, from Rajpath and Vigyan Bhavan, and also aired the UN function attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
All these programmes and special shows on yoga are available on YouTube as well, he added. "The campaign against RSTV is motivated," said Sappal. "Apart from live coverage of important functions, RSTV's Yoga Day fare also had three documentaries on Yoga and a Special Report on AYUSH," he said.