One development that went largely unreported or without any scrutiny was the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s allegedly insensitive comments in Maharashtra over the weekend.
Modi was reportedly not pleased over the the controversy surrounding the hosting of IPL matches in the state. He felt that the media had over-hyped the importance of drought and waste of water by IPL while sprinkling stadia around Maharashtra.
The prime minister, according to the PTI, questioned the outrage over staging of IPL matches in the drought-affected areas. He pointed out that cricket grounds were needed to be watered every day, whether a match is played or not.
He was speaking at a programme in Pune where he launched projects under the Smart City mission across 20 cities.
“There is water crisis today…Sometimes, our media people distort the things way too much, and we cannot even play cricket. Wherever there is a stadium…Whether a cricket match is held or not, the ground needs to be watered 365 days (of the year),” he said.
There was opposition to holding of IPL matches this season in Maharashtra which witnessed a severe drought, and finally some matches had to be shifted elsewhere on the Bombay High Court’s order.
“But the country believed it that since matches are not being held, so the watering also stopped…The country believed this,” PM Modi said.
“They (grounds) have to be watered for 365 days, that’s how the green cover remains…Otherwise there will be no game in the stadium even after two years…Don’t know from where (they) bring this new philosophy,” he added.
Due to the shifting of matches, Maharashtra had to bear a (revenue) loss, PM Modi said.
PM Modi’s statements assume significance in light several leaders from his party in Maharashtra hitting media headlines for their insensitivity to the drought victims.
The former revenue minister in the BJP government in the state, Eknath Khadse, was accused of splashing 10,000 litres of water to wet his helipad when he arrived in Latur to visit affected areas.
Another cabinet minister, Pankaja Munde, was slammed on social media for focussing on clicking selfie with drought victims than ordering tangible actions to alleviate their problem.