Bhopal, Aug 22: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has drawn flak and ridicule for a photograph showing him being lifted by security personnel to cross a swollen nullah in the state's Panna district to meet flood-hit people there, with the Opposition Congress saying it reflected his "feudal mindset".
The picture, which has gone viral on internet with netizens taking pot-shots at the BJP leader, was issued yesterday by the State Public Relations department after his visit to the rain-ravaged district but was later withdrawn.
MP Congress chief Arun Yadav said Chouhan's "photo-stunt" for cheap publicity had backfired but Principal Secretary S K Mishra contended that the Chief Minister was a 'Z' security protectee and the security personnel had to ensure that he is not bitten by any poisonous animal in the flood waters.
"Chouhan in a bid to garner cheap publicity has indulged in this photo stunt. Instead of mitigating the problems of flood-hit people in Panna and other parts, the Chief Minister has himself become a problem for people (security personnel)," Congress leader Arun Yadav said. He said that the "real face" of Chief Minister has been exposed in the photo.
"Now people know him well. We seek his resignation over the photo, depicting his feudal mindset," the Congress leader said. In social media, social activist Ajay Dubey posted the photo of Chief Minister being lifted by security personnel with a caption "I am a prince".
Dubey took a dig at Chouhan saying the picture has revived memories of feudalism. Reacting to the photo, one Sachin Jain posted "Liability, isn't it". Likewise, journalist Abhilash Khandekar, who had written Chouhan's biography, has reacted to the photo commenting it as "Inhuman.Indecent".
When a senior officer of State Public Relations Department was asked about the photo release, he said the picture was released by their Panna office to media houses and not by Bhopal office. However, it was withdrawn yesterday evening itself, he added.
Meanwhile, defending Chouhan, the Principal Secretarysaid the CM was having 'Z' security cover prompting his security personnel to lift him to ensure that any poisonous animal in water doesn't bite him. "Nothing should be read into it," Mishra told PTI.
"Chouhan in fact risked his life to cross the swollen nullah. He is too sensitive to people's problems. He is meeting people affected by flood round-the-clock. We should appreciate his concern, sensitivity for the people rather taking it the other way round," Mishra said.