Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey triggered a row by asking for the cricket score during a meeting held on Sunday to address the deaths caused by acute encephalitis syndrome in the state, ANI reported.
Pandey, along with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Minister Of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey, had addressed the press on the death of over 100 children over the last two weeks and strategies the Centre will adopt to ensure that such incidents don’t repeat, NDTV reported.
A video tweeted by ANI showed the state health minister asking reporters about the latest score in the World Cup match between India and Pakistan on Sunday. “How many wickets have fallen till now,” Pandey is heard asking in Hindi. A reporter responds by saying four wickets.
Opposition parties like Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Hindustan Awam Morcha and the Left demanded Pandey’s resignation for displaying “insensitivity”. “Pandey was more interested in knowing the cricket score while Harsh Vardhan was telling mediapersons on their plans to alleviate the situation arising from the encephalitis outbreak,” Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Ram Chandra Purve said, according to IANS.
Hindustan Awam Morcha spokesperson Danish Rizwan said Pandey’s priority was cricket and not children dying from encephalitis. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala made a similar statement on Twitter and asked when the situation will improve in Bihar.