BJP MP and Dalit leader Udit Raj on Monday triggered a row after he tweeted that champion Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt went on to win nine Olympics gold despite being born in poverty after his trainer advised him to eat beef twice a day.
His tweet raised a few eyebrows within the party, which is avowedly against beef consumption, and drew sharp response from the right-leaning people on Twitter, prompting him to claim that his comments were "misconstrued" and that they were meant to "inspire" Indian athletes and convey that they can excel in adverse circumstances.
"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.
As a row erupted, he tried to scotch it, saying that he merely repeated what Bolt had said and all that he meant was India athletes can find a way to excel despite adversities and they should not blame circumstances for their failures.
"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 sports persons here.
The government spends huge money on them compared to nations like Jamiaca or Kenya, he said, steering clear of any mention of beef.
A statement from his office later said he did not comment on anything related to consumption of beef, but his tweet is now being misconstrued and misinterpreted by some media outlets to say that he advocates consumption of beef.
"Udit Raj is well aware that food habits cannot be dictated to anyone, both as per our social traditions as well as per the provisions of the Constitution of India.
"He was saddened to learn that his views were more misunderstood than understood. This statement is being issued to elaborate his views on the subject and put an end to this artificially created controversy," it said.