BJP MP and Dalit leader Udit Raj has dismissed the row over his 29 August tweet about champion Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt.
Raj courted controversy when he said that the star athlete went on to win nine Olympics golds after his trainer advised him to eat beef twice a day.
"Usain Bolt of Jamaica was poor and trainer advised him to eat beef both the times and he scored 9 gold medals in Olympics," the Lok Sabha member from North West Delhi tweeted.
Usain bolt of Jamaica was poor and trainer advised him to eat beef both the times and he scored 9 gold medals in Olympic— Dr. Udit Raj, MP (@Dr_Uditraj) August 28, 2016
Beef is an emotive issue for BJP whose governments in various states have come out with tough laws banning its trade.
A few hours later, Raj tried to play down any controversy saying that he merely repeated what Bolt's trainer had said and all he meant was the athletes can find a way to excel despite adversities and they should not blame circumstances for their failures.
When asked if his tweets would upset BJP, he told News 18, "Why would BJP leaders get angry? Why would it create controversy? No controversy in it. BJP's Line has never been to stop anyone from anything."
"Let me clarify that BJP has never said don't eat anything. Eat whatever you want. This is an attempt to defame the party," he was quoted by the news media.
"All I wanted to say that giving excuses that we don't have infrastructure or there is corruption should be done away with and lesson, dedication should be learnt from Usain Bolt. What I wanted to say is our players should find ways and means as he found ways and means," he said, adding there is no lack of facilities for sportspersons. "Government spends a huge money on them compared to nations likeJamaicaa or Kenya," he added, steering clear of any mention of beef.
I cited circumstances ofJamaica that despite poor infrastructure & poverty Bolt won 9 gold so our players should find ways like that to win— Dr. Udit Raj, MP (@Dr_Uditraj) August 29, 2016
My tweet is not even remotely connected to advocate beef eating rather it is reproduction of Bolt trainer statement— Dr. Udit Raj, MP (@Dr_Uditraj) August 29, 2016
In July, Raj had criticised cow vigilante groups for attacking Dalits. He had said, "The so-called protectors of the Hindu religion must answer if they consider lives of Dalits to be worth to be of less value than animal," he was quoted as saying by India.com.
--with inputs from PTI