New Delhi |Jagran News Desk: Uttarakhand minister Swami Yatishwaranand was criticized after a photograph, in which his face mask was seen hanging on the thumb of his foot, went viral. Swami Yatishwaranand is the Sugarcane Industries Minister in the state's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. The photo raised many eyebrows on Wednesday, as people from the opposition party slammed the BJP minister for not taking the COVID-19 protocols seriously.

Yatishwaranand, along with two other cabinet ministers Bishan Singh Chuphal and Subodh Uniyal, was attending an indoor meeting. Chuphal and Uniyal too were seen without masks in the viral photo.

However, no further details were available on the date and the place of the meeting.

The photo invited a lot of criticism over social media and the opposition leaders also blamed the state government for not taking the COVID-19 related precautions seriously.

“The photograph showing cabinet minister Swami Yatishwaranand hanging his mask on foot just shows that he and his government put Covid-19 guidelines... under their feet,” said Qazi Nizamuddin, Congress MLA from Haridwar.

Congress state spokesperson Garima Dasauni asked: “When lakhs of people lost their lives to Covid-19 pandemic in the country, what sort of message Swami Yatishwaranand, who is a cabinet minister in Uttarakhand government, is delivering to the people by putting his mask on [his] foot?”

The Aam Aadmi Party which is targetting the upcoming assembly election in Uttarakhand also condemned the minister.

AAP’s state spokesperson Amarjit Singh Rawat said, “It just shows how much the BJP leaders care about the Covid-19 guidelines when many died in the second wave due to the inadequate arrangements made by their government at the Centre. Swami Yatishwaranand should apologise for his behaviour to the public for his despicable act”.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government has decided to cancel the Kanwar Yatra in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection.

Posted By: Mallika Mehzabeen