“Missing person” posters of Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gautam Gambhir were seen around Delhi’s ITO area on Sunday, two days after he was criticised for not attending a Parliamentary committee’s meeting to discuss pollution in the national Capital, The Indian Express reported.
“Have you seen him?” the poster said. “He was last spotted having jalebis at the Indore cricket stadium. The entire Delhi is looking for him.”
On Friday morning, Gambhir, who is the MP from East Delhi, had retweeted a post by former cricketer VVS Laxman, showing a picture of them having breakfast in Indore, where they had gone as commentators for a Test match. Following this, the Aam Aadmi Party tweeted that while Delhi was choking in polluted air, Gambhir was “busy enjoying” in Indore instead of attending the meeting on air pollution.
The meeting was cancelled as only four of its 29 members turned up, and some key officials were also missing.
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu expressed concern about the absence of members in parliamentary standing committees, PTI reported. In a meeting with floor leaders of political parties ahead of the Winter Session that starts on Monday, Naidu urged them to ensure proper attendance of MPs so that the committees could effectively perform their duties. He said, “We must not let their standards drop.”
Later that day, Gambhir defended himself, saying his commitment should be judged on the basis of his work in his constituency. He also went on to list a few projects that he had undertaken as MP. The cricketer-turned-politician said he did not enter politics “to make money”, but had a family to support.
Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said he will investigate the matter of absent MPs and take action.
The air quality in North India has worsened since the last week of October. Earlier this month, a public health emergency was declared as the air quality plummeted to hazardous levels.
On Friday, the Supreme Court said that the states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have failed to take effective steps to combat rising pollution. The top court observed that the odd-even road rationing scheme in Delhi could have been effective in reducing pollution in the national Capital if no exemptions were provided under its rules, but said it was not a long-term solution.
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