Former Indian cricketer and now a member of Parliament Gautam Gambhir is facing the ire of Twitterati after his former teammate VVS Laxman shared a photo of himself and Gambhir eating poha and jalebi while covering India vs Bangladesh cricket Test in Indore. The hashtag #ShameonGautamGambhir was the no.1 trend in India on Twitter for quite some time.
The reason for the anger on social media is the fact that Gambhir is missing a crucial meeting of a Parliamentary panel on air pollution. Considering the severe air pollution in Delhi, the decision of Gambhir to not attend this important meet and instead, fulfill his commentary obligations with Star Sports looks bad.
The people in the forefront of condemning Gambhir are his rivals from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – the ruling party in Delhi. The official Twitter handle of AAP stated: "While MP's like Gautam Gambhir are busy enjoying, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh ATTENDED the Parliament standing committee's meeting on AIR POLLUTION. Gautam Gambhir, is this the level of your seriousness regarding air pollution?"
Saurabh Bharadwaj, an MLA from the AAP in Delhi Assembly, also took to Twitter and wrote: "Does Delhi deserve such MPs who are busy with Jalebi-Poha while missing crucial Parliamentary Committee Meeting on Pollution in Delhi NCR?"
In another tweet, Bharadwaj brought up the issue of Gambhir allegedly using a 'body double' for campaigning during the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year. "Parliamentary Committee meeting notice date 8 Nov was well in advance. Gautam Gambhir, you had 7 days to eat Jalebi & poha. Expected from someone who could use body double for Election campaigning."
After the hashtag became viral, the former India opener took to Twitter and issued his response. He shared a picture of a written statement. His tweet read: "My work will speak for itself! P.S. Agar mujhe gaali dene se Dilli ka pollution kam hoga to AAP jee bhar ke gaali dijiye. cc: Trolls"
Here is Gambhir's full statement:
As has been reported in recent times, the air toxicity levels in Delhi have reached unprecedented levels. In fact, the air pollution, at one stage, even threatened to endanger the Indian cricket team's scheduled T20I match against Bangladesh earlier this month. That match did take place but there has hardly been any relief for Delhiites from the smog that tends to engulf the city every winter.
While the people of the National Capital Region are suffering, the blame game is continuing between the three major political parties of Delhi.
Meanwhile, the Test in Indore is heading towards another big home victory for the Indian team. Opener Mayank Agarwal's innings of 243 has given Virat Kohli's team a massive first-innings lead that the visitors will find hard to deal with in their second innings. If India wins this match, this would be their sixth consecutive Test victory.