The venue was already set up for the press conference but the officials were hurriedly summoned to sit among the media for the review.
Bengaluru: A day after defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman came under attack for snapping at Karnataka tourism minister Sa Ra Mahesh with the video footage of the incident going viral, the defence ministry issued a strong rebuttal on Saturday, explaining the context for her outburst and strongly criticising the “misrepresentation of facts.”
The ministry also criticised the minister for disrespecting the Upper House of Parliament by making personal remarks against Ms Sitharaman.
“The tour programme of the RM (defence minister) was finalised by the district administration of Kodagu in consultation with the public representatives. This programme was approved and circulated to all concerned two days prior to the RM’s arrival. Subsequently, on the request of the district administration, an interaction with veterans was added to the schedule. On completion of the field visits, the RM was interacting with the ex-servicemen affected by the floods when the district in-charge minister objected and insisted that the meeting with the officials be conducted first. The RM clarified that the welfare of ex-servicemen was an essential part of the ministry of defence but the district minister insisted that she immediately stop the interaction and proceed to the meeting with the officials,” the statement said, adding, that to prevent the situation from deteriorating further, Ms Sitharaman halted the meeting and proceeded to the venue of the meeting with the officials.
“The venue was already set up for the press conference but the officials were hurriedly summoned to sit among the media for the review. It was unprecedented to hold a meeting with the officials, with all the media persons present. It is unfortunate that the minister behaved the way he did. The personal remarks made against the RM were also in bad taste and do not merit a response,” the defence ministry added, also maintaining that there had been gross misrepresentation of the use of the term ‘parivar’ by Ms Sitharaman during the press conference.
“One of the four departments of the ministry of defence is the department of ex-servicemen welfare and in that context, it was stated that all ex-servicemen are part of the MoD ‘parivar’. Any other inference is misconstrued and uncalled for,” it said.