The AIADMK party workers’ decision to stick photographs of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on relief material supplied to flood victims faced severe criticism from the residents of Chennai as the city and its suburbs battled hard to pick up pieces of their lives.
Some rescue workers claimed on social media that Jayalalithaa’s photos are also being pasted on relief materials that are not even being supplied by the government.
“6 trucks coming from Coimbatore. Stopped at Sriperumbudur. And Amma stickers stuck on every pack and sent in. This is absolutely ridiculous,” Vinod Dwarkani, a rescue worker, rued on Facebook.
Several people posted scathing comments on social media to register their anger.
PROOF 1 : NGO/ Public donated rice are transferred to White bags and Amma strikers are struck on it ! pic.twitter.com/fuzOVnyBOM— TVA ;-) (@Mangathadaww) December 4, 2015
PROOF 2 : ! pic.twitter.com/vYUnuR4bkm— TVA ;-) (@Mangathadaww) December 4, 2015
Party vows action
Following criticism on social media, the AIADMK top brass on Saturday vowed action against party workers who impeded volunteers carrying out relief work.
“Rescue workers can send their complaints via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet to @aiadmkofficial or call 044-28130787, 044-28132266, 044-28133510. Action will be taken” an official told The Hindu.
Forest minister MSM Anandan told reporters the Jayalalithaa stickers were pasted only on relief material sent by the AIADMK and not items sent by other organisations.
AIADMK party workers have also started putting up hoardings in praise of Jayalalithaa in several parts of the state.
One such poster, below, shows Jayalalithaa as a character from the blockbuster movie Bahubali. One of the initial scenes in the film shows an outstretched hand of Sivagami saving a child from drowning in a river. The poster likened the Tamil Nadu CM to Sivagami and the child to the flood victims to stake a claim that she has done all to save the people.
Anger also spilled on the streets of Chennai when senior ministers Natham Viswanathan, Sellur Raju and Gokul Indira visited Jayalalithaa’s constituency, RK Nagar, where people heckled them and forced them to make a hasty retreat on Friday.
Later at a press conference in the Secretariat, the first in recent days, power minister Natham Viswanathan and chief secretary Gnanadesikan claimed that relief and rescue work were in full swing and “extraordinary”.
The minister described the opposition criticism of relief works as politically motivated with an eye on the assembly elections early next year. He claimed even in the worst-affected areas people refused to leave their homes but accepted only food relief supplied by official agencies.
Similar scenes were witnessed in several areas where people vented their anger at officials complaining lack of any help from authorities in their hour of distress.
Relief and rescue work was stopped on Saturday in suburban Chennai on Saturday after fresh showers hit the city which is grappling with the aftermath of deadly floods that have left thousands homeless.
Intermittent rain in places like Kodambakkam, T Nagar, Adyar and Kotturpuram and suburban Tambaram in the morning posed a threat of flood again, but the weather man has predicted light showers only.
The Met office withdrew its warning of heavy rains in the city on Friday but heavy to very heavy rains have been forecast for south coastal and interior districts and Puducherry.
Nearly 11 lakh people have been rescued so far in Tamil Nadu in one of the biggest relief operations carried out by the largest contingent of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, nine columns of the Indian Army and state disaster response teams. People in many localities have complained that the local administration have not adequately addressed their problems.