Cricket, badminton, cooking keep ministers busy during ‘curfew’Updated: Mar 23, 2020 18:08 IST
From cooking or playing cricket and badminton to blowing conch shells or just spending time with family – that’s what Uttar Pradesh ministers did during Sunday’s ‘janta curfew’, thus trying their hands at things their busy schedule rarely permits them to do.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath briefly came out of Gorakhpur’s Gorakhnath mutt to announce a lockdown till March 25 in 15 UP districts due to the coronavirus outbreak, and also to beat the gong to acknowledge the role of healthcare providers battling the virus.
Meanwhile, the UP ministers ministers used the period to rediscover their hobby, forgotten in the hustle and bustle of their political life.
Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya blew the conch shell. Before that he recited a passage of the ‘Ramcharitmanas’.
The other deputy CM Dinesh Sharma too applauded the healthcare providers. MSME minister Siddharth Nath Singh who, like Jal Shakti minister Mahendra Singh, is fond of cooking, decided to prepare ‘kathal ki sabzi’ for lunch.
“The key to the preparation is to ensure that the spices have been rightly fried before the veggies are put in. Food is all about passion and patience,” said the minister.
“On an average I manage to visit the kitchen to test my culinary skills only about four times annually,” he said.
Energy minister Shrikant Sharma also is an amateur chef, who loves experimenting in the kitchen.
On Sunday, he tried his hand at ‘aloo palak’ and while the dish was getting done, he even peeled off few cucumbers for salad.
“He is good at doing whatever he does so the vegetable also came out good,” said Ankush Tripathi, an aide of the minister.
“It was yummy,” said Shalini, the minister’s wife, who added that it was after a while that the minister could devote time to the family.
Mahendra Singh, who can prepare different variations of any one vegetable, played badminton at his official residence before joining the clap-applaud campaign to honour healthcare workers in the evening.
“I can prepare vegetables in so many varieties that could surprise you,” he said.
“Many people are saying it’s ‘janata curfew’ on Modiji’s prodding. I say, it’s not ‘curfew’. It basically denotes that our leader and country’s Prime Minister cares for you.”
For Mohsin Raza, the ‘janata curfew’ coincided with his daughter Yumn Zehra Mohsin’s birthday. The minister, however, used the occasion to put out a video of his daughter saying, “I am safe in my house, you be safe in yours.”
Health, medical education minister and finance minister Suresh Khanna loves Urdu poetry and can recite them at will.
An aide of the minister, requesting anonymity, said: “I don’t know what he would have said but given the scare and resultant government advisories urging people to stay home, he would have picked up a couplet like ‘Yunhi besabab na phira karo, koi shaam ghar bhi raha karo ..’ to make his point on the COVID-19 scare.”
An official of the medical and health education department said, “I think, given the minister’s penchant for verse, this couplet could well have summed up the situation: “Koi haath bhi na milayega, jo gale miloge tapaak se, ye naye mizaaz ka shahr hai, zara faasle se mila karo’.
Former UP CM and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav used the occassion to connect with folk artistes of the state.
“I appeal to artistes to play up appeals in regional dialects ranging from Awadhi, Braj, Bundeli etc on how to stay safe against the virus.”BSP leader P Mishra said, “We are all for saluting the great healthcare workers doing a tremendous job in these trying times.”