For Chhattisgarh’s Tourism Minister Brijmohan Agrawal, the new year got off to an unpropitious start. The minister planned to ring in 2013 in elaborate style with relatives and close friends in Mainpat — an idyllic hill station known as the Shimla of Chhattisgarh. As the minister and his entourage left for Mainpat, he came in for a scathing attack from state opposition parties. Most of the state’s political leaders had opted to cancel new year’s celebrations to mourn the death of the Delhi gang-rape victim, so his rather insensitive decision to celebrate became the source of much anger. Although Agrawal was left with no option but to cancel his year-end revelries and return to Raipur, the minister’s media in-charge couldn’t resist turning the event into a publicity stunt. He released a series of photographs showing Agrawal returning to Raipur by train. One of them showed Agrawal talking on a cellphone with a caption that read, “The minister welcomed new year in train while a series of calls engaged him with best wishes” (sic). The caption omitted to mention that opposition pressure had forced him to return.
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