After three days of silence, a deeply embarrassed BJP vehemently denied reports in a section of the media that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had managed to fly back 15,000 Gujaratis stranded in the calamity-hit Uttarakhand.
Amid spate of adverse reports on the absurdity of the claims, BJP president Rajnath Singh, in a clarification in Lucknow on Wednesday, said, “Mr. Modi went to Uttarakhand to express his sympathies and it is being said that he evacuated 15,000 Gujaratis from there. I myself talked to him and he said that he never gave any such statement.”
However, the BJP leaders were at a loss to explain why in the first place the party leadership deemed it necessary to pick up the phone to seek a clarification from Mr. Modi on such a weird media report that spawned other reports and commentaries.
A day after the report appeared in an English daily, the BJP spokespersons were actually praising the commendable job done by Mr. Modi in ensuring prompt rescue of Gujaratis.
Modi fans on Twitter and other social web sites went gaga over the report, citing it as yet another example of a leader who could deliver.
However, as realisation dawned that it had parochial and other connotations they quickly went on the offensive suggesting that a section of the media was bent on attacking the Chief Minister for every thing.
Mr. Modi had gone to Uttarkhand with a team of State officials and camped at Dehradun for two days to supervise the rescue and relief efforts undertaken by his team.
On Tuesday, the BJP national spokesperson Prakash Javadekar defended the actions of Mr. Modi on the ground that he performed his duty as Chief Minister of Gujarat.
“I am unable to understand the controversy over the visit of Mr. Modi to Uttarakhand. Besides him several other Chief Ministers had visited the State hit by a disaster,” Mr. Javadekar said.
Keywords: Uttarakhand floods, flash floods, landslips, Uttarakhand landslides, Uttarakhand rescue, disaster management, Indian Army rescue, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Rudraprayag, Pauri, National Disaster Relief Force, Gaurikund, Hemkund Sahib, Uttarakhand pilgrimage, BJP president Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi