Madhya Pradesh CM Chouhan draws criticism, ridicule over flood picture
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has drawn flak and ridicule for a photograph showing him being lifted by security personnel to cross a swollen nullah in the state’s Panna district to meet flood-hit people there, with the Opposition Congress saying it reflected his “feudal mindset”.
The picture, which has gone viral on internet with netizens taking pot-shots at the BJP leader, was issued on Sunday by the State Public Relations department after his visit to the rain-ravaged district but was later withdrawn.
MP Congress chief Arun Yadav said Chouhan’s “photo-stunt” for cheap publicity had backfired but Principal Secretary S K Mishra contended that the Chief Minister was a ‘Z’ security protectee and the security personnel had to ensure that he is not bitten by any poisonous animal in the flood waters.
“Chouhan in a bid to garner cheap publicity has indulged in this photo stunt. Instead of mitigating the problems of flood-hit people in Panna and other parts, the Chief Minister has himself become a problem for people (security personnel),” Congress leader Arun Yadav said.
He said that the “real face” of Chief Minister has been exposed in the photo. “Now people know him well. We seek his resignation over the photo, depicting his feudal mindset,” the Congress leader
In social media, social activist Ajay Dubey posted the photo of Chief Minister being lifted by security personnel with a caption “I am a prince”. Dubey took a dig at Chouhan saying the picture has revived memories of feudalism.
Reacting to the photo, one Sachin Jain posted “Liability, isn’t it”. Likewise, journalist Abhilash Khandekar, who had written Chouhan’s biography, has reacted to the photo commenting it as “Inhuman.Indecent”.
When a senior officer of State Public Relations Department was asked about the photo release, he said the picture was released by their Panna office to media houses and not by Bhopal office.
However, it was withdrawn on Sunday evening itself, he added.
Meanwhile, defending Chouhan, the Principal Secretarysaid the CM was having ‘Z’ security cover prompting his security personnel to lift him to ensure that any poisonous animal in water doesn’t bite him.
“Nothing should be read into it,” Mishra said.
“Chouhan in fact risked his life to cross the swollen nullah. He is too sensitive to people’s problems. He is meeting people affected by flood round-the-clock. We should appreciate his concern, sensitivity for the people rather taking it the other way round,” Mishra said.
Over 26,000 people rescued from 5 flood-hit states: NDRF
More than 26,400 people have so far been rescued by the NDRF from the flood-ravaged areas in Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other states.
The National Disaster Response Force has fanned out 56 rescue and relief teams to help people hit by heavy rains in various states and tasked two Deputy Inspector General-rank officers in Bihar and UP with monitoring the situation.
"So far, the NDRF teams have evacuated more than 26,400 people from various flood-prone areas in the country this monsoon season. Besides the rescue work, these teams have provided medical care to the more than 9,100 people in these states," the force said.
The rescue operations are underway in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
In Bihar on Sunday, NDRF teams evacuated 3,400 people from Didarganj, 580 from Bakhtiyarpur, 545 from Danapur, 380 from Chhapra, 355 from Vaishali and 15 from Maner in Patna. The force said 11 flood rescue teams rescued 275 people from Ballia, 275 from Varanasi and 325 from Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.
147 marooned people were shifted to safer places from Rewa district in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday.
"An NDRF team pre-positioned in Sikkim conducted similar operations in Tingbung and Lingdang villages and evacuated more than 450 people on Sunday," it said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday promised total support to these flood-hit states in conduct of rescue and relief operations. He said Home Minister Rajnath Singh is closely monitoring the situation and has spoken to chief ministers of of these states.