Slamming BJP leader Sushma Swaraj for seeking dismissal of the Uttarkhand government over its handling of the flood tragedy,Congress today asked the Opposition to desist from playing politics over relief work. Congress General Secretary Ambika Soni,who is AICC in-charge for Uttarakhand,said that since MLAs and MPs have also now been made an integral part of the relief work under a new mechanism,”where is the question of politics. These MP and MLAs could belong to any political party.”
“I consider it very unfortunate as it comes at this stage,when we have just begun to work on the second phase of relief work. We should resist politicising relief works. “It is very unfortunate that top leaders make such comments because everyone is trying to do what best can be done… This is a massive tragedy that has happened to those who went there for pilgrimmage….It is not proper to politicise those sentiments…this was playing with those sentiments. That was not the right statement,” Soni told reporters.
Swaraj had on Monday tweeted that Uttarakhand government should be dismissed for being inept and incompetent in handling the crisis in the state. The war of words between BJP and Congress over the Uttarakhand tragedy has intensified in last two days with the main opposition party claiming that the country has witnessed the “biggest failure” of the Centre and the Vijay Bahuguna government in dealing with the situation. Taking a jibe at Rahul Gandhi,BJP spokesperson Shahnawaj Hussain had said yesterday,”the biggest VIP of the country went there (Uttarakhand) while our leaders were stopped”.
Soni,however countered it saying that Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had disapproved of the visits of VIPs during the tragedy as that time rescue operation were more important but there are changes in the situation now. “Nobody is stopping anyone’s visits but they should realise that they will have to work there under difficult conditions. There are not motorable roads at present so that anyone can drive in the area in a taxi,” she said.
The two parties had earlier sparred over the visit of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi to the hill state. In a veiled attack at Modi over reports that he rescued 15000 Gujaratis trapped in the tragedy,Soni said that many Chief Ministers are involved in the relief work. “Haryana Chief Minister (Bhupinder Singh Hooda from Congress) gave a helicopter for ten days but he is not selectively bringing back people or saying that bring them if they are from Haryana,” she said. BJP has also charged that Congress was only interested in taking political credit for the relief work.
Countering it,Soni said,”Obviously there is a Congress government in the state and surely if they are doing good,we salute their efforts…if we take these measures,you say we are politicising it,if we do not take measure,you say we are sitting idle.” Without naming any BJP leader said,the Congress general secretary said,”these things are done by people,who sit in the chair and nurse far-fetched dreams.”
She also pointed that a large number of NSUI and Youth Congress workers are in the hills monitoring the relief work. BJP has maintained that its top leaders did not go to Uttarakhand after an advisory from the Home Minister that visits will hamper the rescue and relief operations. Talking about the new mechanism to reach relief material in the state,Soni said that under it local MPs,MLAs and one social worker of the area have been put in the committees along with the in-charge ministers for doing relief works in a particular region.
She said that they have been equipped with satellite phones and there is a conference meeting on satellite phones everyday to ascertain what works were done. Noting that rumours are being spread about disposal of bodies in violation of rules,she said that the last rites of those who died are being performed as per international norms and after conducting DNA tests and following all rituals. “Nobody should politicise it,” Soni said.