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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 23, 2013
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's visit to Uttarakhand - he visited a relief camp in Dehradun and also did an aerial survey of many affected sites - on Saturday sparked off a political controversy, with Congress leader Digvijaya Singh hitting out at the visit.

"At this time, we must help and evacuate people in the affected areas. This is no time to play politics. This is no time to project oneself," Singh said. He added that VVIPs with high security cover should not visit the affected areas.

The BJP retaliated by asking the Congress whether Rahul Gandhi was abroad at this moment of crisis. "If there is need for him to be abroad right now, let him be there," BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said.

BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi wondered why Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister with their high security had visited Uttarakhand if VVIP movement was to be avoided.

BJP president Rajnath Singh announced suspension of the party's 'jail bharo' campaign against corruption in the wake of the tragedy, asked all party workers to focus on relief and requested the Home Minister to reconsider not naming the tragedy a national calamity.

Meanwhile, Modi tweeted: "Undertook aerial surveys of parts of Uttarakhand. There is a need of food, medicines and rescuing those who are stranded there. I salute the armed forces and all those who are courageously dedicating themselves to relief work...."