Haryana health, sports and youth affairs minister Anil Vij is the most vocal member in the cabinet of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The minister does not mind taking potshots at his party, colleagues and their decisions. But the five-time MLA is also fast acquiring an image of a flip-flop minister, thanks to his frequent rants and retreats. HT special correspondent
recounts the minister’s top five flip-flops:
Naming of Bollywood actor Parineeti Chopra as the brand ambassador for Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign
Rant: “I do not have any information of anybody appointed Brand Ambassador of my department for Beti Bachao programme,’’ Vij tweeted immediately after an official spokesman of his government announced Parineeti’s name. He also griped that he was not consulted or informed in this regard.
Retreat: Vij kept sulking for days and even skipped the state function on the campaign. However, he tweeted on July 20: “Mukhya mantri mere ghanishth mitra, na unse koi matbhed na manbhed, matbhed ki baat congress ke pite hue mohron ka khel’’ (Chief minister is my fast friend with whom I don’t not have any differences. It’s only only the defeated pawns of the Congress who were trying to spread such talk). The next day, his tweet was: “I welcome both ambassadors for Beti Bachao Abhiyan Madhuri Dixit appointed by PM and Parineeti Chopra by CM’’ (sic).
Issue: On Olympian pugilist Vijender Singh, who is deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in Haryana, turning professional
Rant: “Rupayion ke liye deshbhakti chhorhna theek nahi (It’s not fair to prefer money over nationalism),” an upset Vij told newspersons last month, whipping up a controversy of sorts.
Retreat: The minister suddenly fell silent on the subject, stating that it was for the state police to take a decision on his leave application for going abroad. On July 3, he mooted changes in the sports policy to make it mandatory for a player given a government job under sports quota to play for the state for at least six years.
Issue: Transfer of IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who had cancelled the mutation of a land deal between Robert Vadra and DLF during the previous regime, from transport department after he pointed out certain irregularities
Rant: Vij came out openly in the IAS officer’s support, tweeting on April 2 that he would talk to chief minister about transfer.
Retreat: A week later, the minister softened his stance and told reporters: “Imaandar to sabhi ko hona chahiye, ise tamaga na samajhe’’ (Everyone should be honest and one should not take it as medal).
Issue: Difference of opinion with some top officials of his department and those in the chief minister’s office (CMO)
Rant: On March 2, the minister tweeted: “Rajniti mein sabse zyada nuksaan salahkaar pahunchate hain, isliye salahkaar bahut soch samajh kar chun-ne chahiye (In politics, maximum damage is done by advisers. They should be picked very carefully).’’
Retreat: Vij has had issues with some bureaucrats in his departments and in the CMO and had even chided one of them in a meeting. However, he described his tweet, which was widely perceived to be a dig at some powerful aides in the present regime, as his “general opinion and not pointed to anyone in particular”.
Issue: Official functions related to his departments or visits by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to hospitals etc.
Rant: Upset over not being kept in the loop by the department officials regarding official functions where the CM had been invited, Vij on February 15, tweeted: “Thank you, chief minister for taking keen interest into my departments. I am relaxed’’
Retreat: Despite his dig at Khattar for his “keen interest” in his departments, the minister, on being asked about his tweet, insisted that he was merely thanking the CM. “Khattar and I are great friends. One should not read too much into it,” he said.