Indian state tourism minister to ‘start charging’ for selfies

·3-min read
An Indian state minister, Usha Thakur, has said that selfies are time-consuming and hence shall now be charging INR 100 from those asking. Screengrab. (NDTV India)
An Indian state minister, Usha Thakur, has said that selfies are time-consuming and hence shall now be charging INR 100 from those asking. Screengrab. (NDTV India)

An Indian minister has said that she will be charging INR 100 [£0.97] for each selfie she clicks with those asking.

The ruling Hindu, nationalistic Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister in Madhya Pradesh in India, Usha Thakur, said that taking selfies is a time-consuming process and hence she would now be charging money from supporters seeking selfies with her.

Ms Thakur has said that taking selfies delays her. She added that the money she collects from selfies shall go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s PM Care Fund.

She told the media: “A lot of time gets wasted clicking selfies, and often we get late by hours for our programmes. From the (party) organisational point of view, we thought any person clicking a selfie (with her) should deposit ₹100 in the treasury of the BJP’s local unit.”

The state minister for tourism and culture, Ms Thakur, also said that she would only accept books as gifts instead of bouquets. She was quoted as saying in the media: “As far as welcoming people with flowers is concerned, we all know Goddess Laxmi resides in them. So none other than Lord Vishnu, who is unblemished, can accept flowers. So, I don’t accept flowers.” She added: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also said one should offer books instead of flower bouquets.”

This isn’t the first time Ms Thakur has come up with an “unprecedented” policy. During the deadly second wave that swept through India, Ms Thakur also appealed to people to “perform Yagya to purify the environment to get rid of the Covid-19 virus, the Hindustan Times reported. [Yagya means a ritual sacrifice.]

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Ms Thakur, however, was spotted several times without a mask. She claimed she would not contract coronavirus because she follows a “Vedic lifestyle” that includes “reciting Hanuman Chalisa” [a Hindu Sanskrit prayer] and performing “Yagya” with cow dung cakes.

JP Dhanopia, the opposition party Indian National Congress’s Madhya Pradesh spokesperson took a potshot at her for her statements. He was quoted in Hindustan Times saying: “BJP has now emerged as a party of businessmen as they see profit and loss in everything. A party worker, who works on the field and helps an MLA in winning the election, now has to give money to take a picture with the same MLA.” He added that such an attitude was going to “prove costly for these leaders in the upcoming election.”

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The BJP spokesperson responded by saying: “A politician also has a right to crack a joke.”

In 2015, Ms Thakur’s colleague Kunwar Vijay Shah also proposed that those seeking selfies must donate INR 10 for a cause.

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