When the chief minister of the neighbouring state has cameras drooling over him bonding with animals, what do you do? Creating a photo-op is no easy matter.
So, in Madhya Pradesh, what has long been a tradition – government meetings with a generous serving of aloo bonda and the like – has now got an official stamp. After pulling up leaders for missing key cabinet meetings, the state’s BJP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan moved swiftly to soften the blow with a show of diplomacy, by holding a “tiffin cabinet”.
In full view of the media, members of the cabinet were seen eating home-cooked meals they brought from home and sharing it with each other. The idea was to create a conducive environment to talk about key issues, the state’s minister of public relations, Natrottam Mishra, said in a press release, adding, “It’s a precursor to the chief minister’s new initiative to have tiffin lunch with BJP workers in all districts, beginning after May 20.”
The meet took a comical turn as the ministers began competing with each other to serve food to the chief minister, reported The Free Press Journal. “Cheap publicity” is how Ajay Singh, leader of the opposition, views the event, calling the BJP government “apathetic towards public grievance” and that it needs to take the state’s issues more seriously.
Madhya Pradesh will hold assembly elections in 2018, with the BJP seeking a fourth consecutive term. The tiffin cabinet is being seen as a way to smoothen affairs within the party and get things going in the right direction, reported NDTV.
Besides, of course, getting some (social) media love.