Harish Rawat defends paying Virat Kohli for tourism video from disaster relief fund
Dehradun, Feb 26: Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat today defended the decision to make payments for a tourism video featuring cricketer Virat Kohli from the state's disaster relief fund, saying it is the government's prerogative to pay from any fund.
BJP leader and RTI activist Ajendra Ajay had yesterday accused the Rawat government of paying Rs 47.19 lakh from the disaster relief fund to a firm, in which singer Kailash Kher has a stake, for a tourism video featuring Kohli.
"Was it wrong to make Kohli the brand ambassador to promote Char Dham yatra? It is the government's prerogative to make payments from any fund," Rawat said. "I thank Kohli for agreeing to become the brand ambassador.
The payment made was very little but it can be considered as logistical support," he said. He also hit back at BJP asking whether it was "fair" to pay MP Hema Malini to be the brand ambassador for 'Sparsh Ganga' campaign.
Veteran actor and BJP MP Hema Malini, was named the brand ambassador of the 'Sparsh Ganga' campaign in 2010, when the BJP government led by Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had completed one year in office. "Was it fair to pay Hema Malini (for Sparsh Ganga Campaign) by the previous BJP government," he asked.
"BJP is making these allegations as they are frustrated. But, in reality, it is an insult to the great cricketer Virat Kohli," he said. Meanwhile, BJP's state media in-charge Devendra Bhasin alleged, "The state government and the chief minister are misusing the disaster relief fund for their own publicity."