Kochi, Jan 25: Congress deputy chief whip in the Lok Sabha, K C Venugopal today termed as "totally irresponsible" senior IAS officer Amitabh Kant's statement on actor Aamir Khan and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take action against the official for "violating" service rules.
Days after Kant, the newly appointed NITI Aayog CEO, made a statement defending Khan's exit from the 'Incredible India' campaign, Venugopal said the officer "stooped to such a level to appease his political masters who have granted him a new post in the NITI Aayog."
Kant, a Kerala cadre officer, is currently posted as the secretary of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. "I urge the Prime Minister to take action against the officer for violating central government's service rules. As a serving bureaucrat, he has no right to join a debate on a controversial issue and make public statements. His statements against Khan is totally irresponsible," the former Union Minister said here.
Kant was referring to Aamir Khans remarks last November when he had said there were rising instances of "intolerance" in India and his wife even asked if they should move out of the country as "she feared for the safety of their children".
Kant had said the actor "damaged" the brand India while being the brand ambassador of the 'Incredible India' campaign. Kant, who had been a key driver of the 'Incredible India' campaign as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, had said that by terming India "intolerant", Khan had worked against his role as the brand ambassador.
"If the brand ambassador says India is intolerant, he surely is not working as brand ambassador," Kant had said. "
The brand ambassador must be the best brand ambassador for promoting and marketing India. He cannot be the destroyer of the brand." Khan had late last year stirred a controversy after he expressed "alarm and despondency" over rising instances of "intolerance" in India.