As Uttarakhand battles one of the worst dengue outbreaks in years, the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP are busy playing the blame game over the situation.
The state has reported 871 dengue cases since July 1, of which 769 are from Dehradun district alone, followed by Haridwar (59) and Nainital (30) districts.
On Monday, chief minister Harish Rawat took part in a cleanliness drive at Valmiki slum in Kanwali area of the state capital where he cleaned the choked drains, with a spade in his glove-covered hands and a mask on his face.
“I hope this (my participation in cleanliness drive) will send out a strong message to the public that we have to put up a united fight against dengue,” Rawat said after the drive, conducted by the Dehradun police.
However, he was soon targeted on social media by some saffron party leaders for indulging in a “photo-op” exercise in a Dalit-populated area with an eye on 2017 assembly polls.
The opposition BJP, which rules the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC), too, was quick to dub the CM’s move as one aimed at “targeting” the civic body.
“Just a few days ago, the CM had visited the same area to monitor the sanitation facilities, but it did not change anything. He should rather be tightening the noose around the government system instead of indulging in such publicity stunts,” senior BJP leader and city mayor Vinod Chamoli said.
The ruling Congress, too, appeared to be in full mood to lash out at the “failure” of the BJP-led civic body to conduct effective fogging on time, which allegedly led to the mosquito-borne disease going viral. A Congress leader even demanded the resignation of the city mayor.
Anoop Nautiyal, former state chief of the Aam Aadmi Party, hit out at both the BJP and the Congress for the current situation. “The (Congress-led) government and the (BJP-led) civic body are equally responsible and answerable to the public,” he said.
Surendra Kumar, media in charge for CM Harish Rawat, however, pooh-poohed all the allegations against Rawat. “Those who are making such comments are themselves playing negative politics. CM’s only aim behind cleaning the drains was to motivate the general public, and he will continue to attend more such drives,” Kumar told HT.