Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar lost his cool in the face of persistent queries from a journalist about inundation of many parts of Patna due to heavy rains and shot back asking whether there was similar outrage when Mumbai suffered a deluge and floods disrupted normal life in the USA.
The incident took place late Tuesday night when Kumar while wading through knee-deep water was approached with questions from a posse of journalists when he was surveying the inundated areas of the city.
As he began explaining at length how the states northern districts had experienced flash floods as early as in July, followed by a dry spell leading to a drought-like situation until it was ravaged by torrents last week, a journalist from the national capital who was here to cover the situation tried to cut him short.
While Kumar was visibly irritated, the interjection was resented by the local journalists who quarreled with the visiting scribe. They were heard shouting Have you come here to gain prominence for yourself? This is not your Delhi studio. We are based in Bihar and please let us have the chief ministers soundbite.
When the commotion subsided after a few minutes, Kumar resumed speaking about how the latest disaster was in a way connected to the problem of climate change, which his government was doing its bit to tackle.
Kumar was then interrupted again by the journalist who sought to draw his attention to the sufferings of people living in water-logged areas of the city for the past few days.
He began explaining the topography of the city, where the worst affected localities like Rajendra Nagar were low-lying areas and urged for an "honest appraisal of the governments efforts and a proper study of the factors responsible for the current situation.
When the reporter continued to ask questions on top of her voice on what his government did to change things after having ruled the state for close to 15 years, Kumar snapped I would like to know whether water-logging in Patna has been the biggest problem. How much concern was shown when Mumbai and America were water-logged?
You people have failed to even contribute towards raising public awareness, Kumar said turning away amid protestations by the scribe who shouted Raising public awareness is what we are trying to do. Please answer the questions.
Look at this girl shouting here. The local representative of her channel is nowhere to be seen and she has been sent from outside to create mischief, he remarked sardonically as he was led towards his vehicle by the security personnel on duty.