Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde has come under fire from ruling ally Shiv Sena as well as the opposition for clicking selfies while on a visit to drought-hit Marathwada. Munde took the selfies with the dried-up Manjara river as the backdrop while on a visit to the parched region to review desilting work on the river bed.
“Maharashtra is facing severe drought. Women and even kids are going far away from their home for getting water. Shiv Sena is doing lot of work in those drought-hit areas. And in such a serious situation, the ministers are clicking selfies,” Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said.
“This could have been avoided. It lessens the impact of such tours. Entire Maharashtra is reeling under serious drought. There was no need of selfie. It is mainly women who are suffering carrying water and a woman takes selfies. It is strange,” she added.
The BJP leader was also trolled on Twitter after her ‘selfies’ went viral on social media. According to an official present at the site, Munde started clicking selfies with work going on in the background and then posted them on a social networking site. “Selfie with trench of said barrage (in) Manjara (river).. relief to Latur,” she had tweeted.
Congress spokesperson Al-Nasser Zakaria termed the ‘selfie moment’ as a “shameful act” by a cabinet minister. “It is shameful that she has to post such selfies on social networking sites in a bid to show people that she is indeed concerned about the welfare of people. We need the present ministers to be less media savvy and do more work at the ground level which will definitely show in future,” he said.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said taking selfies instead of conducting review meetings is like making a mockery of farmers’ woes. “This government is not serious about drought. There was no planning to tackle drought even where there was sufficient data available months ahead. She is the Guardian minister of Beed and Latur and yet never held a review meeting in the last one year. Now making this tour looks like a junket, she is mocking the farmers,” he said.
Last week, revenue minister Eknath Khadse faced flak for deciding to take a chopper to a village in drought-hit Latur district, leading to wastage of nearly 10,000 litre water for a special helipad.