Over 5 lakh people may have been seriously affected by the unprecedented flood levels in the Ganga, but Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief, Lalu Prasad believes “it’s fortunate and welcome sight to find the Ganga at one’s doorsteps”.
During a visit to flood-hit riverine area in Fatuha and Bakhtiarpur blocks of Patna on Tuesday, the RJD chief, along with his son and the state health minister Tej Pratap Yadav, was trying to apply balm to the bruised and the marooned awaiting relief. Instead, he ended up delivering some sermons.
“You are fortunate that the Ganga has reached your homes. It does not always happen. In most cases you go to it,” he said, in his characteristic style to TV news channels.
Perhaps, Prasad’s jibe was aimed at the BJP, which recently came up with a scheme for making Gangajal available to people at their doorsteps through post offices.
Prasad did not stop there. He extolled the virtues of Gangajal and how difficult it was to get its “pure” nature these days.
“Who gets pure Gangajal these days? In the last one decade, the Ganga has moved away from us. It has now returned,” he said, as the locals looked on in confusion.
आज आपदा प्रबंधन मंत्री के साथ बिहार के बाढ़ प्रभावित क्षेत्रों का दौरा किया। pic.twitter.com/lK6hmvhpZ4— Lalu Prasad Yadav (@laluprasadrjd) August 19, 2016
In the past, Prasad used to term lack of rain in Bihar as ‘bad omen’ and often attributed it to chief minister Nitish Kumar’s act of eating biscuits during a solar eclipse when he should have been observing fast.
But when cornered by the media over his statement, Prasad felt the troubled waters and amended his statement, describing the floods as a ‘divine calamity’ as he took stock of the relief and rescue operations.
“The situation is worse than even 1975 floods. There is extensive damage to crops and it would be assessed for proper relief,” he added.
When the locals told him about lack of boats and adequate relief, he said he would ensure all help was extended to the people. “I have requested the state government for more boats, food material and fodder. The government is doing its best to provide nutritious food and medicines to the people,” the former chief minister said.
He also said the prime minister should take care of flood-hit people of Bihar. “The local political representatives should also ensure maximum help to the people in the hours of need, forgetting their differences,” he added.
Bihar has been badly hit by the floods with several areas inundated. After his aerial survey of the flood-hit areas recently, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday met PM Narendra Modi in New Delhi, drawing his attention to the need for instant relief measures.
JD(U) leader KC Tyagi defended Lalu Prasad’s statements said, “Nothing wrong should be read into his statement. Since he is of religious bent of mind and what he said was to assuage the people and keep faith.”