A day after a report claimed that Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay and Shazia Ilmi cleared garbage that was purposefully dumped for a photo opportunity, the former AAP leader on Friday cautioned that one should not let “rotten apples to spoil a good mission”.
Facing flak from political circles over the incident, Ilmi took to microblogging website Twitter to distance herself from the controversy.
Ilmi, who has been cosying up to BJP after quitting AAP, had yesterday also said she was not aware that garbage was purposefully dumped in the area.
On Thursday, a report caused a huge embarrassment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cleanliness campaign when it showed Satish Upadhyay, Shazia Ilmi and a few other leaders wielding the broom for the cleaning exercise in front of the otherwise-clean India Islamic Centre in the posh Lodhi Estate area on Wednesday as political rivals took pot shots at BJP over the event.
Photographs showed on Thursday that sanitation workers brought garbage on a trolley and littered the pavement allegedly sometime before Upadhyay, Ilmi and others posed for the shutterbugs.
Congress and AAP came down heavily on BJP, saying the incident “exposed” the government’s lack of sincerity towards cleanliness and that it showed the saffron party’s “double standards”.
Facing all-round attack, Upadhyay on his part said he was invited by India Islamic Centre for the event and that he was not aware about garbage being dumped deliberately.
An official of India Islamic Centre said sanitation workers had dumped garbage after realising that there was an event at the site as part of the Swachh Bharat initiative.
Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, reacting sharply, said the BJP has been misguiding people on a number of issues and the incident has “exposed” the party.
“We have been talking about the need for cleanliness in Delhi for last eight years. The BJP-ruled MCD has never taken up the issue seriously. The Prime Minister has started talking about it only now. It is only photo-op session, not more than that.”
“The BJP has been exposed. You can go to any area and will find all the drains are full and overflowing. The BJP-ruled MCDs are not doing anything to ensure cleanliness,” he said.
Ridiculing BJP, AAP leader Ashutosh said the incident reflected lack of seriousness of the much-publicised Swachh Bharat initiative. He also accused the BJP-ruled MCDs of making Delhi a dirty city.
“Is it BJP’s cleanliness drive? Narendra Modi’s BJP has turned Delhi into a heap of garbage which they have not been able to clean,” he said.
When asked, a New Delhi Municipal Corporation official said the sanitation workers who littered the pavement do not belong to the agency though the area falls under it.