New Delhi: Janata Dal (United) leader Pawan Verma on Tuesday said Union Minister for Tourism and Culture Mahesh Sharma should work on improving tourist inflows, rather than focusing on skirt length.
"I have rarely met a minister who so effortlessly negated the brief of his own ministry which is tourism and who is Mr. Mahesh Sharma to discuss or advocate the size of a ladies skirt? He should look at the reducing size of the number of tourist coming to India. Thanks to poor leadership in his department," Verma told ANI here.
"I think Mr. Mahesh Sharma has developed a uncanny ability to convert long established saying like 'athithi devo bhava' (guest are like our god' to saying 'guest are no more welcomed in India'," he added.
Meanwhile, Sharma has clarified his statement saying that his skirt-related comment was only in reference with religious places so that that the sanctity of the holy place is maintained.
Speaking to media, Sharma said, "all I said was that if they enter a temple they should take off their shoes and cover their heads if they are entering a Gurudwara, that's all."
Asserting that he did not comment on what a person cannot wear, the Union Minister asserted that India is known for its diverse culture and that imposing such a ban was unimaginable.
Sharma while addressing media in Agra on Sunday said that women tourists visiting India should not wear small dresses like skirts and avoid roaming around late in the night without any escort. He had also said that this was part of the advisory being given to foreign tourists as part of do's and don’ts in India. His remark led to huge outrage on social media.
Before Mr. Sharma could clarify on his remark, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter and took sharp barbs at the Narendra Modi government over the statement of his tourism Minister.
"Women had greater freedom for their clothes of their choice in Vedic times than they have in Modi times," Mr. Kejriwal tweeted on Monday.