Verbal sniping between rival parties in poll-bound Bihar hit a new low on Friday when RJD chief Lalu Prasad mocked BJP president Amit Shah who was trapped inside a lift at the state guesthouse in Patna for about 20 minutes.
CRPF personnel ripped apart the lift’s steel doors late on Thursday night to rescue a distraught Shah and at least three other party colleagues who were reportedly participating in a meeting to prepare grounds for the assembly polls expected to be held by October.
“A man as fat as Amit Shah shouldn’t have entered the Patna lift as Bihar lifts are not made to carry such fat people,” Prasad told a news agency.
The RJD chief’s jibe at the BJP president came about two months after he mocked Shah when he was in the state to attend a programme on International Yoga Day. “Shah has a pot belly so he could not do yoga,” Prasad had said.
Alleging a possible conspiracy against Shah, the BJP demanded a probe to find out why the state guesthouse lift stopped midway, trapping him for nearly half an hour.
“It is gross dereliction of duty and irresponsibility on part of people responsible for facilities at the guesthouse,” state BJP president Mangal Pandey said.
“Nobody was present in the guesthouse to deal with emergencies though a person with Z+ security cover was staying there.”
The guesthouse is located in a high-security zone, barely a stone’s throw from the residences of the chief minister and governor in Patna.
However, the state government dismissed the charge and attributed the episode to “overloading”.
“The lift at the state guesthouse is brand new with a total capacity of 340 kg. People accompanying Shah said more than five people were in the lift at that time which apparently means there was more weight than the permissible limit,” state principal secretary for cabinet coordination Shishir Sinha told PTI.
The incident occurred at about 11:15pm when Shah was going from the ground floor to the first floor along with party in-charge for Bihar Bhupendra Yadav, secretary Nagendra, general secretary Saudan Singh and a couple of security personnel.
Those inside called the emergency toll free number and finally security personnel rescued Shah and the others who were reportedly experiencing breathlessness. Shah flew back to New Delhi on Friday morning.
“Rivals keep speaking ill against the BJP and its chief throughout the day,” senior BJP leader CP Thakur said. “A conspiracy cannot be ruled out in the incident.”
Input with BBC Hindi & HT
‘Will the lift now be sent to Pakistan’? Twitter smirks after Amit Shah was stuck in a lift in Bihar
Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah has a busy schedule. He’s overseen a massive drive to make his party one of the world’s biggest while also taking on the task of having to ensure it comes to power everywhere. While Shah is often described as a political mastermind who can pull strings anywhere in the country, India’s infrastructure has an uncanny knack of being able to put everyone on the same level, sometimes literally. Late on Thursday night, the BJP President had to crawl out of a government guesthouse lift in Patna after it refused to open.
Shah, along with four colleagues, was stuck in the lift for 20 minutes between the ground and the first floor before the Central Reserve Police Force began a rescue operation that ended up taking another half an hour. The Times of India reported that all of those inside were “totally panic stricken,” and that it took Shah another half an hour to get back to normal after the incident, which is what most of us would expect if we had to undergo the same ordeal.
What all of us don’t have to deal with, however, is this turning into major national news, being reported on TV channels everywhere and then quickly turning into fodder for humour (and some exercise-based criticism) on twitter.
One rather enterprising twitter user actually predicted this might happen, after Home Minister Rajnath Singh himself had been stuck in a lift a little while ago.
And, as if this country doesn’t do enough to caricature itself, the Bharatiya Janata Party is apparently concerned that the incident might have been deliberate.
Finally, the HuffingtonPost (or its algorithm) had a bit of fun with its “Also on the Huffington Post” portion of the page, below the news about Shah’s rescue.