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You won’t’ die if you don’t quench thirst for 2 hours, minister tells panchayat members, sparks row

dehradun Updated: Nov 16, 2017 19:17 IST
Sandeep Rawat
Sandeep Rawat
Hindustan Times
Arvind Pandey,Panchayat Mahakumbh,quench thirst

The agitated panchayat members at Har-Ki-Pauri.(HT Photo)

Minister Arvind Pandey on Thursday sparked a row at Panchayat Mahakumbh here when he told hundreds of panchayat representatives to control their thirst as they won’t die without drinking water for two hours.

Panchayat representatives were outraged by his comment, which led to a chaos. Police were called in to control the situation.

“You can’t tolerate thirst for two hours? How can one expect you to devote major time to the panchayat and people. You won’t’ die if you don’t quench your thirst for such a short period,”  Pandey shouted as hundreds of panchayat members asked for water while attending the Mahakumbh at Har-Ki-Pauri under the scorching sun.

Representatives of three-tier panchayat bodies from across the state had arrived for the Mahakumbh with their supporters.

The Mahakumbh, organised to discuss issues like empowerment of panchayati raj system, cleanliness oath and solid waste management, took political turn as pro-Congress and pro-BJP panchayat representatives came at loggerheads with each other.

“Don’t act as BJP, Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party or Uttarakhand Kranti Dal members. You all are panchayat representatives,” said Pandey amid shouting and sloganeering.

The minister also warned protesters of dire consequences, saying photographs have been taken of them and he will teach them a lesson.

This infuriated the members, who tried to breach the security cordon to claim up the dais, where they had verbal arguments with pro-BJP panchayat representatives.

For more than 20 minutes the ruckus continued, which was controlled only after arrival of additional police force.

Zila Panchayat chairperson Savita Chaudhari expressed displeasure over the whole episode and was seen calming down the protestors assuring of adequate packaged water bottles and lunch after the program.

As the majority of the protesting panchayat representatives left the venue, after their exit then only the meeting carried out smoothly.

Gurmeet Parmar, president of Pradhan Sangathan Uttarakhand, said: “We won’t tolerate such dictatorship. Representatives from across the state had arrived, their woes should have been addressed.”

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 19:16 IST