In the election campaign, Akhilesh promised a clean government (some of Ms Mayawati’s ministers had gone to jail on corruption charges). He computerised 26 government services as a way of introducing badly needed transparency. But not everyone in the family got the message. The public-works minister, Shivpal Singh Yadav, was caught on videotape telling officials it was all right to “steal a little” but not to “resort to banditry”. Missing the point by a wide margin, he criticised the press for publicising remarks intended to be kept private. One imagines they were.
What do "Missing the point by a wide margin" and "One imagines they were" in the above paragraph mean?
The main idiom is 'miss the point' most dictionaries will have this; the adverbial phrase 'by a wide margin' extends the metaphor -to mean 'they got it very wrong'.
'One imagines' is a fancy way of saying 'I think'.