Tug-of-war over human tragedy

Tug-of-war over human tragedy
Highlights

Relief material starts moving Centre asks States to channelise relief material PC hails jawans as real...

  • Relief material starts moving
  • Centre asks States to channelise relief material
  • PC hails jawans as real heroes
  • 'Rahul not going as a VIP but as an ordinary worker'
Anita Saluja New Delhi: Even as 15,000 people were still stranded in flood-devastated Uttarakhand, it was the politics of one-upmanship that the Congress and the BJP were indulging in. Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi was finally seen at the AICC headquarters on Monday, flagging-off the relief material stacked in 24 trucks to Uttarakhand, along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Sonia
Rahul, who was away in London, rushed to Delhi and flew off to Uttarakhand to assess the situation. Ridiculing the "Rambo" act of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who claimed to rescuing 15,000 people from his State, the Centre asked all the States to channelize the relief material and send the choppers after getting a nod from the Uttarakhand government. Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram termed the jawans as real heroes (not the individual politicians), who were busy round-the-clock, in rescuing the victims from the ravaged area. The Congress said that Modi claims only reflected the rank opportunism and the sheer desperation to try and politicise and even milk tragedy for political gains. The slanging match ever since Modi rescued Gujaratis from Uttarakhand continued for the second day on Monday, with Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes singling out Modi for trying to score brownie points on the issue of evacuating stranded people. AICC General Secretary Ambika Soni, who, for the first time, was seen at the party office ever since her appointment as in-charge of the Congress President's Office, was keen to put it on record that Modi was not the only CM?to have visited Uttarakhand. There were others like the Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Maharashtra. If Modi's rescue operations were not enough, he triggered angst from the Congress by tweeting that he had met Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and had offered to rebuild the holy shrine of Kedarnath, destroyed during the floods. Modi, during his three-day stay in the flood-affected State, tweeted that he visited Devprayag, Tehri Dam, Badrinath, Rudraprayag, Karna Prayag, Chamoli, Gaurikund, Kedar Ghati, Joshimath and Agastmuni. It has to be seen what Rahul Gandhi tweets and whether he will tweet at all! Since the Congress rebuffed Modi's claims, Rahul Gandhi's visit is being downplayed. Congress spokesperson Renuka Chaudhary said that Rahul was not going as a VIP but as an ordinary worker. BJP, which had targeted Rahul Gandhi for not visiting the devastated site even once also did not spare the Prime Minister, either. Prakash Javadekar said, "In the United States, even if a shoot-out happens, the President addresses the nation but our PM?has not spoken on Uttarakhand yet." In yet another case of one-upmanship, BJP General-Secretary Varun Gandhi wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, asking for an all-party meeting and wanted that every MP should donate three-month salary for Uttarakhand relief work. Earlier, at the behest of Sonia Gandhi, Congress MPs, MLAs and MLCs donated one-month salary for the victims.
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