Putting the seven-month old BJP government in an embarrassing situation, the party's Karnal Member of Parliament, Ashwini Kumar Chopra, on Saturday said though chief minister M L Khattar is an honest man, the officials surrounding him are "dishonest".
Khattar, however, was quick to react on the Chopra's comment and told mediapersons in Gurgaon and Sonepat: "Jaisa mein hun, mere aas paas bhi vaise hi log hain, pradesh ki sarkar mantri aur MLAs chalate hain aur Chopraji ko chahiye ve kendra ki nitiyon aur karyakramon ka vistaar karen. (I am surrounded by people like myself only, the state government is run by ministers and MLAs…Chopraji should work to spread the Centre's policies and programmes)."
Chopra, who had made the comment before mediapersons earlier in the day in New Delhi, only got more pointed and later told HT over phone that he stood by what he said and it was that "there was a caucus of some IAS officers around Khattarji who were neither allowing him to meet people nor letting him have his way in doing the right things".
"Most importantly, Khattarji is not only honest but he really wants to work for people's welfare; what some IAS officers are now allowing him to do," he said.
Chopra also referred to senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka and called him an honest officer who, he said, ought to have been given a proper position and not sent to a low-profile department like archeology.
"By now, not only should have Khemka been given a proper position but the government should also have initiated a thorough probe into the corruption in the previous Congress government," he added.