It’s not commonplace to see a Communist leader as a top Twitter trend. But on Monday, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury was strongly criticised by a section of Twitter users for his controversial remarks that yoga postures resembled a dog’s movements.
As his comments regarding the International Yoga Day went viral, supporters of the ancient discipline and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s endeavour to celebrate it posted angry tweets directed at Yechury.
According to a PTI report, Yechury had on Sunday said: “All yoga exercises can be noticed in dog’s body movement.”
Speaking at an event to mark the birth anniversary of Communist ideologue Harkishan Singh Surjeet in Bhubaneswar, Yechury gave the example of a dog and said when the animal gets up, it stretches its front and rear legs and takes a deep breath.
The mass mobilisation by the BJP-led NDA government on Sunday to celebrate Yoga Day is an attempt to promote the Hindutva agenda at the cost of India’s secular and democratic fabric, he said.
“Such mass mobilisation for yoga sessions is a tactic similar to that adopted by dictators in the past. Through such exercise, attention is diverted from basic issues confronting people,” Yechury said.
While yoga is needed to improve the quality of life, it is important to deal with hunger and starvation first, he said.
Journalist Swapan Dasgupta embedded a news report on the Left leader’s remarks and tweeted, “The insights of Comrade Yechuri on Yoga.”
Another user, Vismay (@vismayshah), whose profile describes him as a “Foot Soldier for cong mukt Bharat” (sic), tweeted: “Sitaram Yechury will open his umbrella in India, even if it rains in China!”
Many Twitter users took a swipe at the Left’s dwindling status in Indian politics.
@PahaadiTweeter wrote, “Q: Why not to take Sitaram Yechury seriously?
Ans: He is leader of the party who has 9 MPs in LS (not even double digit).”
Oldtimer (@auldtimer) wrote, “Sitaram Yechury has put in dog’s years in politics. If only he gained matching wisdom too.”
User Hemant Kaliwada, tweeting with the handle @kaliwada, wrote, “No wonder with people like Sitaram Yechury at helm the Left has lost its relevance.”
Some users posted satirical comments on how the leader’s name has a reference to Hindu mythological characters Ram and Sita.
@_MrAlBundy wrote, “Try as we might, none of us can troll Sitaram Yechury as good as his parents did by naming him after something which he lives to hate.”
Yechury replaced Prakash Karat to become the CPI-M chief in a “unanimous” decision by the party’s central committee in April. Supporters are hoping for a revival of the party’s fortune under his leadership.