PATNA: Photographs of Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh urinating in public outside a roadside dhaba went viral on the social media on Thursday with the netizens and some Opposition parties mocking his act.
Even as Congress, RJD and JD(U) attacked Singh, a four-term BJP MP from Bihar’s East Champaran district, for publicly belittling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, BJP leaders in Bihar and the minister’s family members went red over the photos going public and appearing on TV news channels. Singh, however, defended himself.
The two photos showed Singh standing and urinating against the wall of a building as his gun-toting security officers stand guard nearby. The minister’s car with red beacon is also seen the photographs. It is not known when the photographs were taken and where. The twitterati had a field day, pillorying the minister and claiming that his act was disregarding the spirit behind the Modi government’s signature public cleanliness drive.
RJD shared the photographs on its Twitter handle and made a sarcastic comment alongside: “The Union minister of agriculture is inaugurating an irrigation project in a drought-affected region amid tight security. He has given a boost to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”. RJD chief Lalu Prasad re-tweeted it. His son and Bihar’s deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav also posted the photo and referred to the red beacon on the minister’s car since beacons were banned by the Centre.
JD(U) secretary general KC Tyagi attacked Singh, saying: “This act of the minister exposes the hollowness of the national cleanliness campaign launched by the PM from the ramparts of the Red Fort.”
Defending himself, Singh said the photographs were of a dhaba (roadside eating outlet) and that he had no other option for him as there was no urinal for long distances on NH 28 near Pipara. BJP leaders in Bihar, though deeply embarrassed, also defended the minister.
“There was nothing wrong in the minister’s act since he was travelling long distances and there were no urinals nearby,” said state BJP spokesperson Rajib Ranjan. “Should such things be shown by the media?” asked an irritated Lal Babu Prasad, a BJP leader from East Champaran district.
The minister’s son-in-law Sujit Kumar Singh was also critical of the media. “Urination is a natural biological urge of every human being. Why are such things highlighted and a controversy is created? Are there urinals available everywhere?” he said.