BHOPAL: A Twitter war has broken out over Madhya Pradesh minister Jitu Patwari's initiative to invite underprivileged children to a five-star luncheon gathering on Diwali.
Many netizens are wondering if the government would have picked up the bill for the PR gimmick.
The others were equally quick to question all expenses over the rallies organised by former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to canvass for the BJP.
Some others questioned the Uttar Pradesh government and its Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, for spending several crore rupees in the pursuit of a Guinness Record for lighting up millions of lamps. This certainly was a laudable cause even if it was at the government's expense, said another Twitter warrior.
Patwari was not available over phone. His staff said he has been organising the party for past some years. Long before he became a minister, he thought of this gesture at the prompting of his son who was in hostel for studies.
This year, his son reminded him on Diwali and the minister took urgent steps to fulfil his wish.
Patwari's son wanted to share his Diwali joy with less fortunate friends. Patwari called up his son to invite his friends and acquaintances to a party at Radisson hotel at Indore. His staff claims Patwari would foot the bill personally. Even if the government did, it wasn't a big deal, they added.
The wars over such issues always end up dragging the Prime Minister. Patwari supporters have questioned those who make such fuss about a small gesture should explain the whopping bill for unscheduled visits to Pakistan and China.
"Can Jitu be compared with anyone in the BJP who has used public money with such disain," says another.
Patwari's staff could not elaborate on the overall expenses incurred. "The minister can be reached in his office on Tuesday," his staff said.
Patwari is known to speak his mind and walk his talk. His last act to hit headlines was when he said more than 90 per cent of patwaris - the primary level revenue officials - are corrupt. That brought revenue assessment and collection to a standstill with patwaris demanding an apology from the minister. The minister said if his apology could change the reality, he won't mind seeking the officials' pardon. The agitation petered out after initial aggressive posturing as the reality about patwaris was known to public.
The other initiative of the minister was to help a young sprinter to test his skills against the best. The underprivileged athlete didn't do well but was promised another chance.
So, this resolve to help his son break bread with underprivileged who included orphans and economically backward children got a spontaneous response from the media. There were large number of cameras, and there was action on the festival of light. Even his political adversaries conceded the minister's act deserved appreciation.