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Diplomacy in the time of Uttarakhand drownings

punjab Updated: Jul 01, 2013 09:42 IST
Chetna Keer
Chetna Keer
Hindustan Times
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It surely has been a season of deluge, drowning diplomacy and disaster tourism! While in Uttarakhand it's been water, water everywhere, the political-scape has been witness to a deluge of another kind. Of a war of words and of oneupmanship. Whilst the Himalayan tsunami-beleaguered common man battled for life and livelihood, for politicians it was scoring and pouring brownie points on Ground Zero.

Here are some seasoned statesmen who topped the list of brownie points bagged in how to fish in troubled waters and how to turn the watery graveyard into a destination for VVIP-driven disaster tourism!

Drowning glory

No one could have played a better "Rambo" to that floating mass of humanity in the swollen waters of the Ganga than the man from Gujarat riding the wave for future prime ministership. Who better than Narendra Modi to know how to be on the Right side of things where all things went wrong!

Right from scoring brownie points on the social media, Modi became the first national neta 'n' Netizen to tweet his solidarity with the Uttarakhand victims.

That he was the one to trigger tweets Left, Right and Centre can be gauged from the fact that within hours of Modi addressing Tweeple, the handlers of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's official Twitter account went into an overdrive to get tweet revenge. So, one Right tweet saw in a span of seconds five tweets emanating from the Centre!

Just when all was going Right, the one thing was that went wrong was that Modi made his Saviour campaign a matter of Statehood. The nearly 15,000 persons who were reportedly rescued by this "Rambo" from the Himalayan tsunami happened to have one common denominator: their Gujarati domicile.

Thus, in rescuing his fellow Gujaratis from the stormy conditions, Modi sort of managed to get himself into the eye of a political storm, what with the Congress, Shiv Sena & Co ridiculing his "Rambo" act and letting loose on him a denouncement deluge left, right and Centre.

This makes Modi best suited to be the next brand ambassador for the Thums Up tagline: Aaj kuchh toofani karte hain…

Mountain out of a molehill

If the mountains of Kedarnath staged a Tandav by the nature in full fury, so did the hill state witness a show of fury emanating from the vocal chords of Congress and TDP leaders who were busy coming to blows at a time when the Garhwal Himalayas were dealing with a death blow. In an hour when the political leadership was required to pitch in with all possible help, the sole contribution of TDP MP Ramesh Rathod and Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao to this sob 'n' sop story was their raised pitch.

In a flare-up in full public glare at the Dehradun airport over the issue of who would be the first to fly back their rescued pilgrims to Andhra Pradesh, Rathod and Rao amply demonstrated our politician's particular propensity to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Seeing their episode of screaming slugfest and verbal deluge that amounted to a Himalayan blunder, they seem so suited to endorse this twist to the Mountain Dew "punch"-line: Slur Ke Aage Jeet Hai…

Better late than never

With a calamity of such national proportion breaking out, it was but a matter of time that there began a parade of politicians to the epicentre of the eventuality, to earn Fifteen Minutes of Footage in a terrain where "mileage" belonged not to the commoners' cars for whom the treacherous terrain truly turned into a "test" drive but to the VVIP convoys who did on photo-ops thrive.

Herd mentality saw politically correct parliamentarians rushing in where even angels feared to tread, all for the sake of spouting sound bytes on the dead.

But one face that was initially conspicuous by its absence was that of the crown prince of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi. He didn't appear quite the hero when much BJP hue and cry later he made a delayed tour of Ground Zero. Whether the breaking of his silence on the mountain crisis amounted to "plain" speak or it simply made it plain that the Congress was late in waking up to the situation is another story.

In ensuring that he didn't go out of mind, out of sight, the better-late-than-never Rahul may have been plain inspired by the catchphrase of Sprite: Chalo Apni Chaal!