Under fire for clicking selfies while reviewing drought-related work in parched Latur district, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Pankaja Munde Monday skipped a cabinet meeting, citing health issues.
“Since yesterday night, she was suffering from a severe headache because of being in the blazing sun for a long time while reviewing drought-related work in Latur,” an aide said. “This morning, she was feeling uneasy and went for a routine check-up, so she had to miss the 11 am state cabinet meeting.”
Both the Congress and ally Shiv Sena attacked Munde, who is also the Water Conservation Minister. “Minister Munde’s act highlights the ongoing drought tourism exercise of the Fadnavis government. Just a few days ago, senior minister Eknath Khadse got a helipad by using 10,000 litres of drinking water,” State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said.
The Shiv Sena said Munde’s actions were unfortunate. “This was a serious tour. Such selfies could have been avoided or it just dilutes the impact of a drought tour. It is mainly the women who have to walk for miles to fetch drinking water and here a woman minister happily clicks selfies,” Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande told PTI.
Munde, however, hit back at detractors and, in an official statement, wrote: “During my Latur tour, I chaired many review meetings for drought relief measures being undertaken. We had tried to dig deep in search of water but without any success. On Sunday, during my visit to Sai barrage on Manjara river, I was happy really to see water in a trench. So I clicked some photos of that trench with water and recorded work being carried out (normally I don’t do this). I was really happy to see water in such dry plans like oasis in desert. This is not a photo of any event or function. But some people twisted it. I was aghast to read when a few mentioned that my make-up got ruined. I was just speechless.”
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