The war of words between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party over the Uttarakhand floods continue, even as thousands continue to be stranded in the flood-hit state.
Charging that the Uttarakhand government failed to handle the tragedy caused by floods and landslides, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj on Monday demanded that the Congress government in the state be dismissed. "I am sorry to say that the government in Uttarakhand has not been able to rise to the occasion. They ought to be dismissed for being inept and incompetent," Swaraj said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
This is the first time that the Bharatiya Janata Party has strongly and openly come out against the Vijay Bahuguna government on the issue of rescue and relief operations in the hill state.
Swaraj’s tweets come after Congres's Manish Tewari tweeted, "Did anyone see LOPs in both Houses express sympathy/visit disaster hit U'khand?" and followed that up with, "This from a party that criticizes visits of Congress leadership." "I am sorry to say that the government in Uttarakhand has not been able to rise to the occasion," and "Unfortunately, the government in Delhi has also failed to provide the requisite leadership," she tweeted this morning.
Senior leaders of the main opposition had avoided any harsh comments and confined their demand to declaring the tragedy a national calamity.
Swaraj also targeted the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre on the issue. "Unfortunately, the government in Delhi has also failed to provide the requisite leadership," she said. The BJP leader also maintained that her party leaders have avoided a visit to the troubled state, as it would hamper relief and rescue efforts.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was the only big BJP leader to visit the state. "We did not go to Uttarakhand because the home minister made a public statement that our visit will hamper the rescue effort," Swaraj said.
Modi's visit had led to a war of words between the Congress and the BJP. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had visited the state but his tour was marred by reports that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police camps were evacuated to facilitate his stay as well as that of the Special Protection Group. Modi created a controversy when claims were made that he had saved 15,000 Gujaratis who were stranded in Uttarakhand in less than two days.
Swaraj said the BJP leaders did not visit the flood-affected state as Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that "nobody including himself was allowed to land anywhere. "The truth is that I woke you up about the scale of tragedy when I spoke to the home minister on June 18 and tweeted about this," she said.
Making a scathing attack on the Congress-led UPA government, she said the Opposition will not allow the government to get away lightly by accusing other parties of playing politics when they point out to the shortcomings of the regime. "When we enforce accountability, you call it politics. We will not allow you this escape route to hide your failures," Swaraj said.
She maintained that the government has done nothing, which it could claim credit for and all rescue operations have been done by the army, air force and ITBP at the cost of their lives. The BJP leader said she salutes the efforts of the defence and paramilitary forces.
"What has your state government done? Nothing. The living are starving. The dead are being robbed. And you are patting your back.Those who cannot govern in crisis do not deserve to be in the government even for a day," Swaraj said.