Early on Tuesday morning, leaders in the hill district of Rudraprayag rushed to assure locals of all possible support after a moderate earthquake of magnitude 5.8 on the Richter scale rocked the region on Monday night.
Finding the perfect opportunity to strike an ‘emotional cord’ with the panic-stricken locals, candidates and their teams raced to them with the message: “We are with you in this hour of crisis.”
While there was no casualty, damages to houses and farms were reported in different parts of the district which comprises two assembly constituencies, Rudraprayag and Kedarnath.
At the crack of dawn, Manoj Rawat, Congress candidate from Kedarnath constituency, dispatched two teams—one towards villages of Kalimath, where one woman was injured, and another towards Sersi-Phata villages enroute to the Kedarnath shrine.
“I’m in Thapal village myself and have sent two teams of about 20 youngsters to the affected village clusters to study the ground impact of the earthquake. Based on their report. I’ll submit a letter to the district magistrate,” Rawat told HT.
“Since it is election time, we can’t do much, apart from providing psychological support to the people,” he said, referring to the election commission’s bar on announcing or providing beneficial services to people as it could influence voters.
“The earthquake has caused many cracks in buildings here. We’ve set up some tents for people whose houses got damaged,” Ashok Semwal, a member of Manoj Rawat’s team at Sersi village, told HT.
BJP’s Rudraprayag candidate Bharat Singh Chaudhary’s teams did rounds of households in the district headquarters, a sleepy hill town 180 km northeast of Uttarakhand capital Dehradun.
HT caught up with a team of the party’s local campaigning committee during its visit to homes in the region.
“It may be election time, but humanity comes first. We are talking to people and assuring them of their safety and that they can call us for any assistance at any time,” Sunil Nautiyal, BJP’s Rudraprayag town head, told HT.