Noted film actor Raza Murad was removed as brand ambassador of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation’s ‘swachhata abhiyan’ on Friday on the order of Madhya Pradesh Urban Development Minister Bhupendra Singh, a day after the announcement of his appointment was made.
In a letter to the Bhopal civic chief, Mr Singh said Mr Murad should be dropped as brand ambassador as his contribution in the field of cleanliness was not known.
“A brand ambassador should be such a person who has contributed in a major way in the field of cleanliness or who is well-versed with Bhopal’s culture. Therefore, the order in this regard should be cancelled with immediate effect. Instead, nominate a prestigious person/institution who has made noted contributions in the field of cleanliness,” the minister’s letter said.
However, Mr Murad told news agency PTI he was well-versed with the city as he had relatives hailing from here and had also completed his schooling in the state capital.
“No one can be a bigger Bhopali than me as my mother, wife and many other members of the family belong to Bhopal. I did my schooling from the Cambridge School here. I am well versed with the city, its roads, its typical language, its tea, paan and gutkha, so the charge that I don’t know the culture of the city holds no ground,” Mr Murad said.
“Secondly, the minister also said the brand ambassador should be such a person who has done commendable job in ‘swachhata‘. But, when you do not give me an opportunity to prove (my credentials in the field), then how can you decide I have not done anything,” he asked.
Mr Murad also said he had already started work on the subject on Thursday in the city’s Chowk area by telling people to segregate solid and liquid waste, adding that “if the minister doesn’t want my services, so be it, as they (powers that be) are maalik (all powerful)”.
BMC public relations officer said the 100-150 people chosen as cleanliness ambassadors on Thursday were those had made a name in their respective fields.
Meanwhile, the Congress hit out at the BJP government in the state and said Mr Murad being dropped from the brand ambassador list was “Sanghi thinking”.
In a tweet in Hindi, Congress spokesperson KK Mishra said Mr Murad was removed as he was Muslim.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)