New Delhi, 22 June: The Congress on Monday accused the ruling BJP of playing divisive politics and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's apology over his party leader Ram Madhav's tweets about Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
Madhav, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary, had taken a jibe at Ansari's absence at Yoga Day celebrations. But he later deleted his remarks.
"Prime minister and BJP general secretary must apologise on this issue. Vice-President (Hamid Ansari) was not invited due to protocol. It was an effort to malign him," senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said in a press conference here.
Former union minister and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh was more critical while saying: "Ram Madhav's comment shows that polarisation was the intention behind Yoga Day."
[Modi Govt apologises for Ram Madhav's criticism of Vice-President]
"Communal polarisation is the only thing Modi knows. The obnoxious comments by Ram Madhav is a deliberate attempt at polarisation," he added.
Earlier in the day, Union Minister of state for AYUSH Shripad Naik defended the government's stand on not inviting the vice-president at the maiden International Yoga Day celebrations at Rajpath.
"We can't invite the vice-president when the prime minister is the chief guest," Naik told reporters.
The controversy sparked off after tweets from Ram Madhav which questioned the vice-president's absence from the International Yoga Day celebrations.
"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."
Later, Madhav deleted both the tweets.
However, controversy sparked off after the vice-president's office said that he was not unwell and, in fact, he was not invited for the yoga programme in the first place.