Offered Water From Polluted River, He Drank It 'Without Hesitation'

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann ends up in hospital, though party denies it was from the water
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2022 4:50 PM CDT

In this week's "Regrets, I've Had a Few" files, an Indian politician trying to show how clean the waters of a local river were ended up in the hospital, though his party insists the two events aren't related. On Sunday, Bhagwant Mann, the chief minister of Punjab state, headed down to the Kali Bein waterway, a rivulet that holds great religious and historical significance for local Sikhs, to take part in an annual cleaning of the waters, reports NDTV. The news site notes that although the river in Sultanpur Lodhi is known for being contaminated with sewage from nearby towns, Mann drank a glass of water from it "without hesitation" when offered one by a local environmentalist.

India Today, which has video of the event, reports that the quaffing "backfired," however, as Mann ended up in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday, apparently suffering from a bad stomachache, per Indian Express, which notes his illness "was kept a closely guarded secret by the government as he was rushed to the capital without his entire security staff." Mann's party, the Aam Aadmi Party, is disputing Mann's hospital visit has any ties to the river water he drank, claiming there was no infection and that Mann had simply been to the medical center to get a regular checkup. They say he was discharged Wednesday evening. The reporter for India Today isn't buying it, noting in her broadcast that "the reality is [Mann] wanted to prove a point, [and] thereby drank the water. And he's definitely proven a point to Punjabis." (More India stories.)

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