DAMOH: A video purportedly showing Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel telling a man who sought oxygen cylinder for his ailing mother that he would get "two slaps" if he spoke rudely went viral on Thursday.
While the opposition Congress took swipes at him over the incident, the Union minister of state could not be contacted for comment on the video.
Patel, who is the MP from Damoh, was inspecting the district hospital here two days after oxygen cylinders were looted from the hospital.
A man approached him saying his mother, a COVID-19 patient, needed oxygen cylinder.
She was told she will get one after 36 hours, but it was yet to be provided, he said.
As the man raised a finger at Patel while talking, an irked minister gestured him to lower his finger, and said, "If you spoke in this manner, you will get two slaps. (Aisa Bolega To Do Khayega)."
The man replied that he was ready to accept the slaps and his mother was already taking the blows.
"Tell me what to do," the man was heard saying in the video. Apparently realising that the incident was being recorded, Patel said to the man, "Calm down.
Is anyone refusing you (the oxygen)? The man replied in a feeble voice that he had indeed been denied oxygen.
As the video began to circulate, state Congress chief spokesperson K K Mishra tweeted, "Before the by-poll, each virus patient of Damoh was driven to Bhopal or Jabalpur by the cars of MP ministers and admitted to hospitals.
"Now when a BJP activist was requesting for oxygen to save the life of his mother, Union Minister Prahlad Patel was talking about slapping him twice as the work is accomplished (election is over)."
The Union minister could not be contacted for reaction.
District BJP president Pritam Singh Lodhi refused to comment, saying Patel himself should be contacted.
On Tuesday night, family members of patients admitted at the Damoh district hospital forcibly took away oxygen cylinders.
The hospital management had to call in police to bring the situation under control.
No restrictions on movement or gatherings had been imposed in the district which had an Assembly by-election on April 17.
On April 19, curfew was imposed.
On Thursday, Damoh reported 167 coronavirus cases, its highest daily rise.
Madhya Pradesh on Thursday reported 12,384 fresh coronavirus cases, which took its overall count to 4,59,195, the state health department said.
On Wednesday, the state had reported its highest one- day spike of 13,107 cases.
As 75 patients succumbed to the infection in the last 24 hours, the death toll reached 4,863.
A total of 4,863 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, pushing the count of recoveries in Madhya Pradesh to 3,69,375, the department said.
With 1,781 new cases, Indore's caseload went up to 96,330, while that of Bhopal rose to 75,405 with the addition of 1,729 cases.
Indore reported 10 deaths, taking the toll in the district to 1,079, while the fatality count in Bhopal rose by five to 692, the officials said.
Indore is now left with 12,738 active cases, while Bhopal has 9,773 such cases.
There are 84,957 active COVID-19 cases in the state.
With 50,974 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, the number of samples tested so far in the state rose to 72.84 lakh.
The coronavirus figures in MP are as follows: Total cases 4,59,195, new cases 12,384, death toll 4,863, recoveries 3,69,375, active cases 84,957, number of tests so far 72,84,554.