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If PM landed at Kedarnath shrine, it is because of works done by us, says Congress

The huge helipads were constructed in Kedarnath so that the PM and other dignitaries could land and the road to the shrine was reconstructed so that lakhs of pilgrims could visit it, says former chief minister Harish Rawat

dehradun Updated: Oct 20, 2017 20:36 IST
Anupam Trivedi
Anupam Trivedi
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand news,Kedarnath,Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is felicitated by Uttrakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat during his visit to Kedarnath in Uttarakhand on Friday. (PTI)

The Congress was left fuming on Friday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to take credit for the reconstruction work carried out at flashflood-hit Kedarnath town.

Without naming the Congress, Modi said he had offered to reconstruct Kedarnath but the UPA government rejected the proposal despite the then Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna’s approval. Bahuguna, who was not present at Kedarnath when Modi made the statement, preferred to remain ‘silent’.

An angry Congress asserted that had its government not done anything at the shrine town; the PM could not have even landed on the holy land. In the assembly polls, the Congress won the Kedarnath segment despite the drubbing at the hands of the BJP.

“The huge helipads were constructed in Kedarnath so that the PM and other dignitaries could land. The road to the shrine was reconstructed so that lakhs of pilgrims could visit. Millions of tons of debris was cleared so that valley looks clean,” former chief minister Harish Rawat’s spokesperson Surendra Kumar said.

Kumar alleged Modi, who was the Gujarat chief minister in 2013, was only concerned about the pilgrims from his state.

The main opposition party also criticised the Prime Minister for talking about toilets from the temple premises.

Later, Rawat himself lead the attack on Modi, saying there was nobody to stop if anyone wanted to help. “The PM should ask Vijay Bahuguna and not the then UPA government (on permission for carrying out reconstruction works)…It is sad that the PM used Kedarnath shrine for political means.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offers prayers at Kedarnath in Uttarakhand on Friday. ( PTI )

Incidentally, the Congress had replaced Bahuguna with Rawat as the former faced criticism for his failure to handle the situation arising after the 2013 flashfloods. “The PM laid foundation stones of those works which were already going on since the Congress regime. What’s new in it?” Congress legislator Manoj Rawat asked.

Meanwhile, the Trivendra Singh Rawat-led BJP government took a swipe at the Congress, saying why it should claim credit for works carried out in the shrine town or rest of the valley.

“The state government is merely a nodal agency. There is hardly any contribution of former Congress government in Kedar valley. The then UPA government also didn’t took any concrete interest. And now after Modiji’s visit they want credit but for what?” Cabinet minister Prakash Pant told Hindustan Times.

First Published: Oct 20, 2017 19:46 IST