Mumbai: Maharashtra Housing Minister Prakash Mehta found himself in the eye of the storm on Thursday after he was reportedly captured taking selfies at the bridge collapse site in Mahad. A British-era bridge on the Mumbai-Goa Highway collapsed on Tuesday. Over 42 people are feared missing as two buses, one Honda City and one Tavera swept away in the swollen Savitri river.
After the selfie incident, opposition demanding his resignation over the issue, but he has denied taking any such pictures. The Opposition attacked him for his 'insensitive' behavior but his party has defended him, claiming he was merely taking pictures of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who was also at the site to review rescue work after the bridge collapse.
The minister is also accused of misbehaving with a reporter when he was asked about the status of those missing in the tragedy. Two state transport buses and some four-wheelers were washed away in the river when the bridge collapsed near Mahad in Raigad district on Tuesday night.
When the TV reporter asked why state administration was treating the relatives of the victims in such a callous manner, the minister objected to the "pointless" question. He alleged that the reporters were raising non-issues for the sake of TRPs and that he will solve his department's problems on his own. His supporters later also allegedly heckled the TV reporter.
Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade on Friday sought a clarification from Mehta after the opposition flayed the minister for his alleged arrogant behaviour with a TV journalist during the visit.
Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who raised the issue in the Lower House, said the government should apologise for Mehta's alleged rude behaviour with the journalist.
There should be a code of conduct for ministers, he said, condemning Mehta's behaviour in Mahad . The Speaker asked Mehta to give a clarification over the allegations, who rubbished all the charges against him.