Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday tossed a fitness challenge at Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who lost no time in retorting that he was “more concerned about the development fitness” of the state.
Modi, who was tagged by cricketer Virat Kohli for the ‘fitness challenge’ campaign started by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, also posted a video of his exercise regime, which includes yoga and walking on a track inspired by five elements of nature.
“Here are my morning exercises. Apart from yoga, I walk on a track inspired by the pancha tatvas or five elements of nature - Prithvi, Jal, Agni, Vayu, Aakash. This is extremely refreshing and rejuvenating. I also practise breathing exercises. #HumFitTohIndiaFit,” Modi tweeted along with the video. In the next tweet that followed, Modi said he was “delighted to nominate the following for the #FitnessChallenge” - Kumaraswamy, Commonwealth Games table tennis medal winner Manika Batra and the entire fraternity of brave IPS officers, especially those above 40 (years)”.
Kumaraswamy was quick with a retort, “dear @narendramodi ji, I am honoured and thank you very much for the concern about my health. I believe physical fitness is important for all and support the cause. Yoga-treadmill are part of my daily workout regime. Yet, I am more concerned about development fitness of my state and seek your support for it.” While the choice of Kumaraswamy set tongues wagging as it came at a time he joined hands with Congress to prevent BJP from forming a government in Karnataka, JD(S) national general secretary Danish Ali found fault with the challenge thrown at the chief minister who has heart ailments, saying the prime minister should not have “mocked” at the health of somebody.
“If physical fitness is the sole concern, then we should have ‘pehelwans’ (wrestlers) or bouncers as prime ministers and chief ministers. People elect a prime minister or chief minister to govern. The focus should be on the wellbeing of the development of the state and the country,” Ali told DH.
Modi’s fitness challenge had earlier invited barbs from Opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Tejashwi Yadav as they threw challenges at the Prime Minister to reduce fuel prices and price rise among others.
Responding to this, Kumaraswamy said that it was important to be “Fit in their work.” (SIC). He added, “For that, I welcome it. Individually, I am not bothered about the fitness issue. My fitness is Karnataka’s fitness. Karnataka people have to be fit in every manner. For that, I am taking the challenge,” he said. He was at his official residence ‘Krishna’.
Kumaraswamy said he would convey his gratitude to Modi for being concerned about his fitness. “For the last 5 months, due to election work, I could not exercise. Otherwise, I wake up early. Treadmill and yoga is part of my exercise regimen. I am physically fit and so is my government,” he said.