The Congress on Tuesday sought to differentiate Rahul Gandhi's visit to flood-hit Uttarakhand from that of Narendra Modi, saying he is not going for "photo-ops" even as it faced the Bharatiya Janata Party attack for deriding the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s rescue efforts.
"He (Rahul) is not going for photo-ops. He is not sort of claiming like Modi that he rescued many people there," All India Congress Committee General Secretary Digvijay Singh said.
Defending Rahul's visit, Singh said he went by road. "The main rescue operations have been completed. Even as some operations are going on, Rahul has not taken a helicopter. He has gone by road. He is staying there. There is a difference in this case," he said.
Criticising Modi for his visit to the flood-hit state, Singh said he should not "lie" he has saved 15,000 people. "It is strange that the army, the air force, paratroopers are all engaged in rescue operations day and night and this man (Modi) comes in and claims he has rescued 15,000 people. Don't lie so much Mr Modi, the people aren't that stupid."
Congress leaders and Union ministers have ridiculed Modi's visit to Uttarakhand and his claim that he had helped in evacuating 15,000 Gujaratis in two stays with the party also saying he was trying to be a "Rambo" and was making the trip for "photo-ops".
But BJP President Rajnath Singh hit back at the Congress for attacking Modi's rescue efforts and said no politics should be played on such a sensitive issue.
"As far as the calamity in Uttarakhand is concerned, I would like to say that no political party should do any politics. If a chief minister or any political party wants to help the victims of the Uttarakhand incident then I feel this help should be accepted," Singh told reporters.
"Any politics being done on the issue by the Congress is condemnable," Singh said.
On the other hand, Congress leaders hailed the visit of Rahul to the flood-affected regions of the hill state, after the party vice-president came under attack mainly from opposition the BJP for not rushing back from his trip abroad when massive floods hit the hill state on June 16.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also took a swipe at the Congress, saying, "People want to know where were Rahul Gandhi and other big leaders.
Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary said that Rahul Gandhi is not going there as a VIP. "He is going there as a citizen, as the vice-president of Congress to oversee that the relief materials reach in place. Rahul did not say, 'I am a Rambo and I did this and I did that,'" she said.