Madhya Pradesh minister Kusum Mehdale on Monday said she was unaware of Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, days after she mistakenly congratulated fellow minister Kailash Vijayvargiya for the Nobel win.
“I admit that though I was a minister for Women and Child Development department twice, first in the then BJP Chief Minister Sunderlal Patwa’s government and later during Uma Bharti’s regime, I never got an opportunity to meet Satyarthi and am even not aware of him,” the minister told reporters here, leaving everyone surprised.
Mehdale currently holds charge of six departments– Animal Husbandry, Public Health Engineering, Horticulture and Food Processing, Fisheries Development, Cottage and Rural Industries and Law and Legislative Affairs– in the Shivraj Singh-led government.
She was responding to a query on the faux pas committed recently by her and other party MLAs, who mistakenly congratulated Madhya Pradesh Urban Development Minister Kailash Vijaywargiya for receiving the Nobel instead of Satyarthi when scribes approached them for a comment on the honour bestowed to the crusader against child labour.
On December 10, Satyarthi jointly earned the Nobel Peace Prize at Oslo in Norway along with Pakistan’s youth icon Malala Yousafzai.
While the world lauded the Madhya Pradesh activist, people back in his home state hardly knew him before the global recognition.