Minister Clicks Selfie Near Collapsed Bridge, Faces Criticism

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Mumbai: Maharashtra Housing Minister Prakash Mehta on Thursday faced flak for clicking a selfie near a bridge that collapsed in the flood in Savitri river and later misbehaving with media persons here.

Mehta — the guardian minister of Raigad district — was seen cliking a selfie when Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and opposition Leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil visit the tragedy site on Wednesday afternoon.

When some media persons questioned him on the matter and also the fact that he reportedly learnt of the tragedy after nearly nine hours, Mehta lost his cool and hurled abuses at a television channel reporter on Thursday.

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While the media called for a boycott of Mehta, opposition Congress leaders like Vijay Wadettiwar and Abdul Sattar demanded his resignation for clicking a selfie when rescue operations were in full swing to locate two missing buses, other vehicles and their occupants.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Jayant Patil said that “this shows the seriousness of the government and its minister”.

Even ally Shiv Sena raised eyebrows, with party legislator Neelam Gorhe urging Fadnavis to take cognisance of the matter. “It is surprising this has come from a senior minister,” she said.

Irked by the minister’s behaviour, several media organisations, including the Press Club of India, Mumbai Press Club, TV Journalists Association, Mantralay ani Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh, Crime Reporters Association and others condemned him.

At least two buses with 22 people and four to five private vehicles were washed away early on Wednesday in floodwaters after a British-era bridge collapsed on the Mumbai-Goa highway.