The small cake is just the icing, there was apparently also a mother-of-all-cakes which weighed 53 kilos, one for each year of Gupta’s life.
27 June 2005
Umashankar Gupta, Minister of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation, Madhya Pradesh government recently celebrated his 53rd birthday.
His followers took out a procession with elephants, horses, camels and dancing horses. There was a lavish firework display. Mr Gupta cut a cake weighing 53 kilos and one of the garlands put on him [by corporators of municipal ward 50 Asharam Sharma and Rameshwar Sharma] was 21 feet long. The Chief Minister and his other cabinet colleagues congratulated him.
While these junketings were going on, people for whose care he is responsible lie in hospital with breathing difficulties after the inept “clean-up” work at Union Carbide’s contaminated factory sent a cloud of poisons over their neighbourhoods. Even after being shown pictures Mr Gupta told disbelieving journalists there was no problem, and the work carried on.
Thousands of people living near the Union Carbide factory continue to suffer as Mr Gupta and his colleagues in the MP government of Babulal Gaur have for more than a year ignored a Supreme Court order to provide them with safe drinking water.
His ill-informed, and bungled press conferences have amazed journalists. How does a man so clearly incompetent attract such a large devoted following, who clearly have money to burn? As they say in America, go figure.