Gambhir skips pollution meet, faces heat

A photo tweeted by V V S Laxman of him & Gambhir

Cricket and jalebis entered the Delhi pollution debate Friday, as the AAP launched an attack on East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir for skipping a key meeting of a parliamentary committee on the capital’s air crisis.

Gambhir was in Indore as a commentator for the India-Bangladesh cricket fixture. A photo shared by former Indian cricketer V V S Laxman Friday showed him and Gambhir having jalebis — something the AAP latched on to. “Our Hon’ble MP claims he skipped a meeting on air pollution in order to earn a living. In the same breath, he says he pledges his salary as an MP for his constituency. Going in circles like a jalebi to defend the indefensible,” Atishi said, referring to Gambhir’s note on Twitter.

Gambhir’s note — shared alongside the tweet, “Agar mujhe gaali dene se Dilli ka pollution kam hoga to AAP jee bhar ke gaali dijiye (If Delhi pollution reduces by abusing me, AAP can feel free to) — read: “I have not entered politics to make money but I do have a family to support. I believe in hard-earned money and not using public funds to further political ambitions. Making my commercial engagements... an issue to mask the incompetence and political greed of their leader is the saddest thing the party, which claims to represent honest people, can do.”

Gambhir wasn’t the only one missing from the meeting — DDA vice-chairman Tarun Kapoor and all three MCD commissioners were among other notable absentees. Among four Parliamentarians of the 29-member committee who turned up was AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh. The Lok Sabha Secretariat sent notices to the members and officers on November 8, requesting them to attend the meeting, held at the Parliament Annexe.

Kapoor and North MCD commissioner Varsha Joshi were attending a conference on urban mobility organised by the Urban Affairs Ministry in Lucknow. SDMC commissioner Gyanesh Bharti was “attending a budget meeting of the Corporation”, a senior official said, while EDMC commissioner Dilraj Kaur did not respond to calls for a comment.