Politics came into play over the Uttarakhand floods as Narendra Modi ignored suggestions given by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde that chief ministers should not visit the flood-hit region as it hampers rescue operations.
The Gujarat Chief Minister on Saturday went around the flood-ravaged state to conduct an aerial survey of the damaged caused by the floods.
Apparently keeping in mind Modi's proposed visit, Shinde had said Chief Ministers, except that of Uttarakhand, should avoid going around the flood-affected areas because the administration would be distracted and it would hamper rescue work.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also carried out an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas of the state and later met Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna along with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in Dehradun.
After the aerial survey, Modi said "I am acquainted with this region for long as I have worked here and because of that I could make out a lot through the aerial survey the scale of the tragedy, the lives of the pilgrims lost and their sufferings."
"An area of major concern in the coming times is the local residents of Uttarakhand who have come out in a big way to help the visiting and stranded pilgrims. On behalf of all the pilgrims, I thank the residents of Uttarakhand who without thinking about whether there is food available to them and their families came out to offer all they had to the pilgrims.
I am grateful and acknowledge their love and affection showered on the flood victims in this hour of crisis," Modi said.
Later, he met Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and offered Gujarat's help in reconstruction of the Kedarnath shrine.
Shinde also found BJP's demand for declaring the disaster as national calamity as one driven by politics.
"What is the gain in declaring it as a national calamity? It is a natural calamity and we are doing our best to tackle the disaster and allot the best resources for rescue and rehabilitation," Shinde said.