Came to know about Beti Bachao event in Haryana through media: Anil Vij

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij, who courted controversy after questioning the state government's move to rope in actress Parineeti Chopra for 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' initiative, on Tuesday said that he was not given an invitation to a key event related to the campaign and came to know of it through media.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 21, 2015, 19:29 PM IST

Chandigarh: Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij, who courted controversy after questioning the state government's move to rope in actress Parineeti Chopra for 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' initiative, on Tuesday said that he was not given an invitation to a key event related to the campaign and came to know of it through media.

"I don't know who is organising this function, so how can I go there and attend it..I won't even go to God's place without an invite," Vij told reporters in his office here referring to the 'Call for Action' event at Gurgaon being organised by the state government this evening under the Centre's flagship scheme.

"Till yesterday, I was not knowing who is organising the event, whether it is a NGO or any other organisation. I came to know through newspaper advertisements that the Women and Child Development department is organising the Gurgaon function," he said.

When asked that Women and Child Development Minister Kavita Jain has claimed that the Health Minister had been invited for the Gurgaon event, Vij said, "may be the invitation was sent, but I did not receive it".

Notably, both Health and Education are key departments along with the Women and Child Department, which has been made the nodal department, for the success of the Narendra Modi government's BBBP programme.

Khattar, State's Women and Child Development Minister Kavita Jain, Parineeti, US Ambassador Richard Verma, besides other dignitaries are slated to take part in the event.

Vij, a five-time MLA from Ambala Cantt noted that his name along with that of the Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma, were missing from the publicity material for the campaign since its launch earlier this year.

"When this (BBBP) scheme was launched in Panipat this year, in all the advertisements issued in the print media, both mine and Education Minister's (Ram Bilas Sharma's) names were not there and likewise even today, our names are not there (in the advertisements)," he said.

The issue has yet again brought to fore the apparent strain in ties between Vij and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, but the Health Minister denied any such differences.

"The Chief Minister is my dear friend. I neither have any differences with him nor any difference of opinion," Vij posted on his Twitter handle. Commenting further on the Gurgaon event, Vij said, "My department is not involved in this event. But others can also organise these events, it does not necessarily have to be my department. NGOs, religious and social organisations can also organise such functions".

On being asked about state government's decision to rope in Parineeti Chopra (26), who hails from Ambala, for the BBBP campaign as the state's brand ambassador, Vij said, "I cannot throw any light on this. I don't know who signed the MoU and on what conditions, it is only the people involved who can tell, this is not in my knowledge."

Last week, Parineeti Chopra was announced as the brand ambassador for the campaign by the Haryana government after which Vij had expressed ignorance on the issue and even went on to say that they do not need "any actor or actress for this campaign".

Vij, who was in the race for chief ministership after BJP won the polls in Haryana last year, has often taken veiled jibes over functioning of Khattar.

The Health Minister said that talks of differences between him and the CM is a creation of Congress leaders who had to bite the dust at the hustings.

"In our Indian parliamentary system, a Chief Minister is like a king. I am not talking about any particular CM, but our system is like this. A CM is vested with lot of powers, he takes many decisions at his own level and some decisions are also taken in consultation with the cabinet".

'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' campaign, aimed at ensuring survival, protection and empowerment of the girl child, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Panipat in the state in January this year, an event in which Bollywood star Madhuri Dixit had also been present.