In an embarrassment to the ruling BJP in Haryana, state minister Krishan Kumar Bedi was caught on tape while allegedly mocking the Prime Minister’s pet ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign, prompting the opposition to take a swipe at the state government over “lack of seriousness”.
“Don’t know what all Modi will make us do,” Bedi, who is minister of state for social justice and empowerment, is purportedly heard saying in TV footage as he held a broom while cleaning a ground in Fatehabad.
After the minister’s remarks, other officials present at the spot with him burst into laughter. When Bedi noticed that his comments may have been captured by media present at the spot, he asked them, “I hope you are not recording it. Don’t make me land in any trouble”.
The video has since gone viral on the social media.
Bedi along with senior officials of the Fatehabad district administration was cleaning the ground at Panchayat Bhawan in Haryana’s Fatehabad Sunday on the conclusion of a sanitation campaign there.
When reporters later sought clarification from Bedi about his remarks, the minister, who was attending another function in Kaithal, said “We are committed to the Swachh Bharat campaign. We want that entire Haryana should not only be clean, but healthy too”.
“Someone had brought to my notice that some officials are not taking the campaign seriously. I was telling the officials that some people are trying to publicise the fact that they (officials) are being forced to pick up the broom because of (PM) Modi.
“I was bringing this fact to their notice that such an impression should not go out (that officials were not willingly picking up the broom to clean). Now, if someone has done some (video) recording and linked with my comment in this manner, then it is not right. I was only apprising the officials and the whole issue was in that context only and not anything else”.
Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar said BJP ministers “are not keen on real service and tackling real issues, but they just believe in tokenism”.
State’s main opposition INLD’s senior leader Abhay Chautala said “this shows how serious the government and its ministers are about campaigns launched by (PM) Modi”.
The incident has caused embarrassment to the Manohar Lal Khattar Government in Haryana, which will complete one year in office this month.