BENGALURU: IN an unprecedented move, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) took a dig at Tourism and Kodagu district-in-charge minister Sa Ra Mahesh on Saturday, after his spat with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit to flood-hit Kodagu district on Friday.
Dubbing the State minister’s behaviour as unfortunate, the ‘clarification’ contended that Mahesh’s remarks were in bad taste, “which did not merit a response”. The clarification was issued by MoD following reports that the Union Minister got angry with Mahesh during the flood situation review.
“These reports have also quoted the district-in-charge minister who has made certain personal remarks against the RM(Raksha Mantri). The remarks have also lowered the dignity of the upper house of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and show utter lack of regard and knowledge about the Indian Polity,” the release said.
MoD’s response came after leaders of the coalition government in the State criticised the behaviour of Sitharaman, calling her insensitive to the woes of the flood-affected population.
On Friday, the duo was involved in a spat after the Union Minister - who was reviewing relief operations by armed forces - lost her cool after Mahesh asked her to wind up the briefing citing paucity of time.
Following the incident, Mahesh had criticised the minister saying that she would have met the officials involved in relief before meeting others, “had she contested an election”.
The MoD release said that Sitharaman was following her tour programme, before being objected by Mahesh, who insisted that meeting with officials involved in flood relief be conducted first ahead of an interaction with ex-servicemen.
“In spite of the district administration finalising the programme and RM following the same in its entirety, it is unfortunate that the minister behaved the way he did. Subsequently, the personal remarks made against the RM were also in bad taste, which do not merit a response,” the MoD clarification read.
“It has also been noted that there has been gross misrepresentation with regard to the use of the term ‘parivar’ by the RM during the press conference. One of the four departments of the Ministry of Defence is the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare and in that context it was stated that all ex-servicemen are part of the MoD ‘parivar’. Any other inference is misconstrued and uncalled for,” the release added.