Three days after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan shot down a move to serve eggs at anganwadis, his cabinet colleague Kusum Mehdale has urged people to add fish to their children's diet, that too in his presence.
"Fish is a good source of protein and it can overcome malnutrition in areas where fish is available in abundance," she said while addressing a state level fishermen's conference at the Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwavidyalaya on Monday.
Mehdale is minister for animal husbandry, horticulture and food processing, cottage and village industries, fishermen's welfare and fisheries development, law and legislative affairs, public health engineer in the Chouhan-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in Madhya Pradesh.
She, however, expressed apprehensions about opposition from certain sections of society in promoting fish consumption and sought protection from none other than the MP CM, who was sharing the dais with her.
"In case I face any opposition, I would like to have protection from the MP chief minister, who is like my brother and an elder," she said.
Mehdale did not stop here, and said, "My department is working on a target set by the MP chief minister to enhance fish production to 1.45 lakh metric tonne by 2018".
In a lighter vein, she said, "Fish production will be increased to such an extent that even vegetarians might get lured and end up eating fish". She said Madhya Pradesh had won three consecutive Krishi Karman awards in which fish production too played a significant role.
Admitting that she was fond of eating fish, Mehdale appealed to non-vegetarians to consume fish for economic empowerment of fishermen. On the occasion, Mehdale requested the MP Chief Minister to permit turtle farming due to the growing demand for this meat in India and abroad, adding, "Turtle is a protected species list and its farming is not possible."
In his address, Chouhan kept mum about issues raised by his cabinet colleague Mehdale.
Three days ago, Chouhan told a BJP meeting in Bhopal, "Not eggs, but milk will be made available to children and pregnant women at anganwadi centres".
His assurance came after a Jain community delegation met him and asked him to keep eggs out of the anganwadi meal menu.