‘Have family to support’: Gambhir hits back after AAP criticises him for skipping pollution meet

Delhi BJP MP Gautam Gambhir (Source: Twitter/GautamGambhir)

BJP MP from East Delhi Gautam Gambhir Friday hit back at criticism from the Aam Aadmi Party after the former cricketer stayed away from a key parliamentary panel meeting on air pollution in the national capital.

Gambhir, who is in Indore for commentating on the ongoing India-Bangladesh test series, said he has "a family to support". He added that his "commercial engagements" were being made to "mask the incompetence and political greed of their (AAP) leader."

"If by abusing me the pollution levels in Delhi will go down, please curse me at your heart's content," he said.

Earlier in the day, the Aam Aadmi Party hit out at Gambhir for missing out on the parliamentary panel meeting, which was attended by Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh. This, after former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman shared pictures of Gambhir savouring jalebis for breakfast in Indore.

"Instead of sitting in commentary box and enjoying, we challenge Gautam Gambhir to stop playing blame games over pollution and attend meetings on air pollution which he skipped," read a tweet by the party's official handle.

"My commitment to my constituency and my city should be judged by the work that is happening there," Gambhir said in a statement, listing some of the works in progress by the East Delhi MP. "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" he said.

Top officials of the Environment Ministry, DDA and municipal commissioners also stayed away from a key meeting of a parliamentary panel held in Delhi on the issue of severe pollution in the national capital. Members present at the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development were upset with those absent and plan to raise the issue with the Speaker, PTI reported.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court pulled up the Delhi government over its Odd-Even scheme to tackle pollution saying it was ‘half-baked’ and despite its implementation, pollution levels were on the rise. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said a final call on extending the odd-even road rationing scheme would be taken on Monday morning as the air quality in the national capital is expected to improve in the next two-three days. The road-rationing scheme, rolled out on November 4, ends on Friday.

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar also called for "joint action" by all agencies to combat the worsening air quality in the national capital.

The air quality index today remained in the ‘severe’ category at 466 at 11.30 am as a thick layer of toxic smog enveloped Delhi for the fourth consecutive day. Meanwhile, the apex court summoned chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Delhi over pollution in Delhi-NCR. It added that effective steps must be taken and 13 pollution hotspots in Delhi be cleared of pollutants.