When Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked purposefully across Rafi Marg, on Sunday, to join the crowd of nearly 36,000 yoga enthusiasts about to set a world record on Rajpath, he left behind on stage several confused people, including his own Minister for AYUSH, Shripad Naik.
Speaking to The Indian Express Monday, Naik mentioned how days before the International Day of Yoga event he had himself asked the PM whether he wanted to perform yoga. The PM had categorically declined, he added.
Which is why, Naik says, despite practising yoga for 30 years he had not come prepared to Rajpath to join other enthusiasts.
In fact, it was only when Modi finished his speech and left the stage that it dawned on the organisers, including Naik, that the PM wanted to join the yoga session. A mad scramble ensued for a spare mat.
“If the PM does not do yoga, how can I? I had asked him some days back whether he wanted to do yoga, and he had said ‘no’. So naturally I did not come prepared to do yoga. If it was decided he would do it, everybody would have done it,” said Naik, who is the MoS (Independent Charge) for AYUSH.
Speculation about Modi heading the group of Yoga Day participants at Rajpath had been been rife for long. But it was effectively quashed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj when she clarified that the PM will only address the gathering. This, sources say, was after the AYUSH minister had clarified with the Prime Minister.