A Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district on Tuesday said Pakistan or China could be responsible for high levels of air pollution in North India. Vineet Sharda said either Islamabad or Beijing might be releasing poisonous gases.
“I see that every year stubble is burnt in Punjab and Haryana, and pollution increases,” Sharda said in one video. “But I don’t think the pollution this year is due to stubble burning. We should think about whether this is a conspiracy by Pakistan to release poisonous gases into India, because it knows it cannot win a war against India? Whenever Pakistan has fought a war against India, it has lost.” In another video, the BJP leader mentioned China.
Sharda became an internet sensation in April, when he chanted “Kamal [lotus]” several times during an election rally of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The lotus is the saffron party’s electoral symbol. “Aapko sochna hoga, ki kamal chahiye ya kya chahiye [You will have to think if you want lotus – Bharatiya Janata Party – or some other party],” he said, before beginning his rap-like chant of the word. His antics inspired numerous memes.
On Tuesday, Sharda said he was confident that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who he referred to as Krishna and Arjun, were capable of stopping Pakistan.
“The chief minister of Delhi [Arvind Kejriwal] keeps saying different things [about pollution] all the time,” Sharda said. “But my view is that we need to safeguard ourselves against Pakistan.”
Pollution levels in Delhi continued to remain in the “severe” to “very poor” categories on Tuesday, two days after plummeting to the season’s worst level.
Earlier in the day, the Centre ordered state administrations to penalise those who burn stubble in Punjab and Haryana. The order came following a Supreme Court directive on Monday banning stubble burning with immediate effect.
The government’s statement came hours after the Supreme Court said pollution needs to be curbed as people cannot be allowed to leave Delhi in droves. The court summoned Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev on Wednesday along with his counterparts in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
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