On Sunday, news agency ANI posted a video of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur talking about cleaning drains and toilets which created outrage on social media. While talking to some people in Sehore, she was heard saying Hum naali saaf karwane ke liye nahi bane hain. Hum aapka shauchalaya saaf karne ke liye bilkul nahi banaye gaye hain.
#WATCH BJP MP from Bhopal, Pragya Thakur in Sehore: Hum naali saaf karwane ke liye nahi bane hain. Hum aapka shauchalaya saaf karne ke liye bilkul nahi banaye gaye hain. Hum jis kaam ke liye banaye gaye hain, vo kaam hum imaandaari se karenge. #MadhyaPradesh pic.twitter.com/VT4pcGKkYx
— ANI (@ANI) July 21, 2019
Her this comment was quickly misinterpreted by many people and they started attacking the MP, alleging that she is insulting the job of cleaning. Robert Vadra’s brother-in-law Tehseen Poonawalla even brought in RSS in this subject, he tweeted saying that this shows that RSS supremacy.
Well done #NewIndia ..The RSS supremacy shows. Btw hon @narendramodi ji , do you agree with this sir ?
Sir you as my @PMOIndia had promised action on @SadhviPragya_MP within 10 days ! Hon PM do you value your words sir! https://t.co/SCRy37ThK6
— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) July 21, 2019
But if one gives attention to her comment, it can be seen that there is nothing outrageous in her comment. The literal translation of her comment would be, “I have not been made (MP) for getting drains cleaned, I was definitely not made (MP) for cleaning your toilets”.
The Bhopal MP was essentially emphasising different job responsibilities of different organs of the government, and was not talking about the manual job of cleaners, like many people are assuming. Pragya Thakur also added that she will that job with full honesty for which she was elected, as a member of parliament. It is noteworthy that her comment was applauded by people present in that location.
Although it is true that Modi government has given topmost priority to cleanliness through the Swachh Bharat initiative, and everyone is supposed to promote it, it does not mean job of one department can be done by another. The job of cleaning drains rests with local governance bodies like municipalities and town committees. MPs can work towards specific programs in this regard, and can fund construction of drains etc from their MPLAD fund, but day to day maintenance of sewerage is the responsibility of the local bodies, and neither MPs nor MLAs have much say in this regard. Almost all of local bodies in India suffer from inefficiencies and also face severe fund crisis, therefore they can’t perform their basic duties of keeping their area clean.
The video posted by ANI contains only the comment of Pragya Thakur, it does not give us any context about the situation which prompted her to make that comment. Probably someone was complaining about specific sanitation issues in their area, or maybe it was a general comment emphasising on the role of a MP. Whatever may be the trigger, but it is certain that Pragya Thakur was not talking about the job of cleaners, she was talking about her responsibilities as an MP.