Patna: Tej Pratap Yadav, Bihar's 28-year-old Health Minister, may have taken his job description too personally. A fully-loaded ambulance parked outside his home 24x7 was "not for personal use but for visitors", the minister glibly explained this morning.
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Hours later, the vehicle had vanished but the controversy refused to.
Mr Yadav, the older son of former Chief Minister Lalu Yadav, had said recently in the assembly that Bihar is facing an acute shortage of ambulances and critically needs more.
Yet of the nine "elite" life-saving ambulances in Patna that respond to the emergency number 108 - and offer the best of facilities and equipment to revive a person - one was at the service of the health minister until this evening.
Mr Yadav, a political debutant who became a minister after winning his first ever election in November, doesn't see what the fuss is about.
"That ambulance is there only for public use not for our personal use. People come to meet us and it is there in case of emergency...so we can provide services. The number of ambulances will be increased soon," he said.
His RJD party had an impressive explanation. "He is a very popular man, he is very good Politician. Every day terminally ill patients come to his place for treatment instead going to the hospital," claimed the party's Ashok Sinha.
The opposition BJP seized what it called a whole new chapter in the shaming of Bihar since Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav joined hands to form a government last year.
"What is the justification for this? He has no time to attend the Bihar assembly, but look what's happening!" said Sushil Modi, former Deputy Chief Minister. "I was also a minister...should I get an ambulance for myself?"
The ambulance has now been removed, which should please its driver. "There is no point standing here all day. Is this public interest?" Manohar Sharma had grumbled.