Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde has come under fire for clicking selfies while on a visit to drought-hit Marathwada.
The picture which was shared by Pankaja Munde on her Twitter account
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.
"Selfie with trench of said barrage (in) Manjara (river).. relief to Latur," she had tweeted.
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.
The BJP leader was also trolled on Twitter after her 'selfies' went viral on social media.
Pankaja Munde took a drought selfie? Something that clearly needs a chullu bhar paani— Madhavan Narayanan (@madversity) April 18, 2016
Pankaja Munde is becoming rounder and rounder day by day, that she even fits in a selfie is a surprise— Rakesh Kadam (@RakeshKadam) April 18, 2016
Pankaja Munde, Why that much of controversy? she is just following our PM. #SelfieWithWater— Amit Vishwakarma (@amitv2272) April 18, 2016
I'm surprised the BJP hasn't offered Pankaja Munde's children ministerial positions yet, considering they're so against dynasty politics.— lindsay pereira (@lindsaypereira) April 18, 2016
Next, Pankaja Munde should take a selfie with the 206 crore chikki that her ministry paid for without due tendering process— Ganesh Ranganathan (@ganeshran) April 18, 2016
Pankaja later explained the reason for the tweet stating that it was just the 'satisfaction' and not 'excitement' to see water in trench in dry plains.
Under attack over selfies she clicked in drought-hit Latur region, Maharshtra Water Conservation Minister Pankaja Munde on Monday clarified it was in 'appreciation' of the work done by the local administration.
"During my Latur tour, I chaired many review meetings on drought relief measures," Munde wrote on social networking site Facebook.
"We tried to dig deep in search of water but without success. On Sunday, during my visit to Sai Bandhara on the Manjara river, I was really happy to see water in a trench. So I clicked some photos of that trench with water and recorded the work being carried out (normally I don’t do this). I was really happy to see water in such dry place, like an oasis in desert," she clarified.
"This is not a photo of any event or function," Munde said, adding, "I clicked that photo in 45 degrees Celcius simmering heat... There was no excitement but just satisfaction to see some ray of hope... just to put the truth in front of everyone... hence this clarification."
Munde said: "Just could not understand who is getting benefitted by making up and twisting news to kill a personality? Will my poor farmers already under the burden due to severe drought get benefitted?"
Earlier, the Congress slammed the minister for taking the selfie during her visit to Latur.
"Selfie tourism is not the answer to the problems of the Marathwada region of Maharashtra," Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi told IANS here.
"It is extremely unfortunate and reflective of the Maharashtra government's mindset whereby they think selfie/disaster/drought tourism is the answer to all the problems Marathwada is facing," the Congress leader added.
Taking a dig at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Chaturvedi said: "Munde's actions also reflect government priorities whereby they like to promote more and do less for the people of Maharashtra. There has been no word from the chief minister over the disaster (drought) and selfie tourism of its cabinet ministers. It shows there is no accountability on part of the entire cabinet."
She alleged that Fadnavis does not have control over his ministers. "It seems the chief minister doesn't have any authority to seek accountability from such ministers," the Congress spokesperson said.
The Marathwada region is facing severe drought this year and the Centre has arranged special water trains to transport water to Latur.
- inputs from IANS