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BJP says Cong itself a 'national disaster'; UPA rejects demand to dismiss Uttarakhand govt

The BJP has charged the Congress-led UPA govt with hampering the rescue operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, saying that the ruling party at the Centre is itself a 'national disaster'. Cong, BJP lash out at each other on Twitter | Efforts on to evacuate 900 people

india Updated: Jul 01, 2013 17:02 IST

The BJP on Monday charged the Congress-led UPA government with hampering the rescue operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, saying that the ruling party at the Centre is itself a 'national disaster'.

"The Central government was only into hampering the relief work. Congress party is itself a national disaster," BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

"Look at the credibility of this government, not even one country came forward to extend help," he added.

Earlier on the day, Congress leader Ambika Soni slammed BJP's demand to dismiss Uttarakhand government and said she was saddened that one of leaders from opposition had asked for the Bahuguna government to go.

She said: "I am saddened that one of leaders from opposition, who wants to be PM, has asked for govt to go."

"We have never discriminated while providing relief and we never will," she added.

Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari has also questioned the absence of BJP leaders in Uttarakhand.

"Did anyone see LOP's in both houses express sympathy/visit disaster hit Uttrakhand. This from a party that criticizes visits of. Cong leaders," he tweeted, referring to the Leader of Opposition in Parliament.

"H'onble LOP's has mindspace to critique govt proposals on CBI autonomy that are yet to be placed before SC but no time to visit Uttrakhand," he added.

Senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj hit back saying: "We did not go to Uttarakhand because home minister made a public statement that our visit will hamper the rescue effort."

"He (home minister) went to the extent of saying that nobody including himself was allowed to land anywhere," Swaraj added on Twitter.

She claimed that the Uttarakhand government had not been able to rise to the occasion to deal with the devastation caused by the rains and floods.

"They ought to be dismissed for being inept and incompetent The truth is that I woke you up about the scale of tragedy when I spoke to home minister on June 18 and tweeted about this," said Swaraj.

Accusing the government of having done nothing for the victims, she said: "Those who cannot govern in crisis do not deserve to be in the government even for a day."

Fifteen days after floods hit Uttarakhand killing hundreds of people and sweeping away numerous houses, the evacuation of all the stranded pilgrims and tourists is likely to be over by this evening.

Over 900 pilgrims were airlifted from Badrinath and 650 pilgrims reached Joshimath on foot yesterday. Rescuers from Army are engaged to locate the stranded pilgrims as well as locals on higher reaches in Pithoragarh.

Small helicopters from the Air force and private sector have been pressed into service to drop food packets to the villages totally cut off. About 200 such villages have been identified.

Over one lakh seven thousand and 600 stranded people have been evacuated from the affected areas so far.

Meanwhile, mass funeral of bodies was carried out in Kedarghati region on Sunday. 94 bodies have been cremated. DNA samples of the bodies, which could not be identified, have been preserved.

Bahuguna has said a 200-member team consisting of officials of various departments, including police, health, animal husbandry experts and sanitation, is being sent along with equipment provided by the NDRF to both Kedarnath and Rambada to extricate the bodies from the debris and expedite the process of their disposal.

With inputs from IANS, PTI, ANI

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