Mumbai: The BJP has criticized Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for attending a Bollywood event in Mumbai on Sunday evening, hours after serial blasts in Patna in and around the site of a Narendra Modi rally killed six people and injured over 80.
On Sunday evening, Mr Shinde, who has charge of the country's law and order, kept his date with the makers of the Hindi film Rajjo, which has reportedly been directed by Vishwas Patil, who belongs to the minister's village in Maharashtra. During the 45-minute event at a luxury hotel, the Home Minister launched the film's music and also posed for photographs with its lead star Kangana Ranaut.
Mr Shinde faced a barrage of questions as soon as he left the function and justified not changing his plans because of the blasts, saying he had immediately sent crack investigating teams to the spot and was in regular touch with his officials.
"Since the bomb blast at 9.30 am, I have been getting updates about the situation. I have spoken to the Chief Minister of Bihar a few times. In the afternoon itself I sent an NIA (National Investigation Agency) team and a bomb inquiry squad to Patna by plane," he told reporters.
The BJP refuses to buy the explanation. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, chief minister of election-bound Madhya Pradesh tweeted: "Home minister launching music when there were blasts in Patna. Now it's time for them to hear the music."
Another BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said, "When the rally, hosting six lakh people, happened, when serial blasts happened, major havoc could have spread. But rather than controlling the situation, (Mr Shinde) was launching music. This has become a habit of the Congress Home Minister and other ministers. Instead of paying attention to good governance, they pay attention to their clothes and to music," said BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh.
The BJP has accused not only the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar, but also the Centre of being lax about security for the Patna rally of Mr Modi, who is the party's prime ministerial candidate for 2014.
Twitter is also abuzz with comments about Mr Shinde attending the Bollywood event so soon after a major attack.