Union Minister of State for Tourism K. Chiranjeevi consoled relatives of people who are missing in the aftermath of the flash floods in Uttarakhand on Sunday. The visit of the Minister happened only after a great deal of drama at the Gannavaram airport.

The importance of sentiment in politics is known to all. Regional, religious and other forms of sentiment are used in the most strategic manner by leaders of different political parties, but a different type of sentiment became a big problem for the Union Minister when he came here on Sunday. He was schedule to go to Guntur district to participate in various programmes including a ground breaking (shankusthapana) programme.

As per general sentiment a person who is performing a shankusthapana should not call on people who have been recently bereaved to offer them condolence.

Unfortunately for Mr Chiranjeevi, Vijayawada Central MLA Malladi Vishnu had on Saturday announced that the Union Minister would call on people who had lost relatives in the flash floods.

When Mr. Chiranjeevi landed at the airport in a special plane, Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana told him that he should not go to console families of the victims. The Union Minister conveyed the same to Mr. Vishnu, who walked out of the VIP lounge in a huff.

Mr. Chiranjeevi, however, changed his mind after former APPCC secretaries Kolanukonda Sivaji and Akula Srinivas explained to him that the public would be disappointed if he did not go to console the relatives. Mr. Chiranjeevi agreed technically, since none of the relatives were officially declared dead they should be considered missing.

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