Jaipur: Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh kicked up a controversy by wiping his shoe with a garland of spun cotton given to him as a welcome gesture by Congress members at a public function in Bikaner district of Rajasthan.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was also present at the function at Kolayat area in Bikaner on Monday where they distributed sanction letters of the first instalment of grant aid under Mukhyamantri Gramin BPL Awas Yojana.
The cotton garlands were offered to Ramesh by Congress office-bearers Rameshwar Dudi and Rampyari Vishnoi. When the minister was sitting in a chair at the dais, he took out the garland and put it on a table. After some time, he took the garland and cleaned his shoe.
The state BJP reacted sharply and criticised the minister's act and demanded apology from him and Gehlot saying "the garland, a symbol of Gandhi's spinning wheel. It's an insult to Gandhi's Khadi", BJP state President Arun Chaturvedi said in Jaipur on Tuesday.
"Congress leaders, ministers and the chief ministers talk about Gandhism and Khadi but they insult it openly. Chief Minister should also tender an apology from the public," he added.
When contacted, PCC president Chandrabhan said he was not aware of the matter. "I am out of station and what has happened is not in my knowledge," he said.