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Deshmukh uses Bush as defence

To silence dissidents, Maharashtra CM gives example of damages caused by Katrina, reports Saroj Nagi.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2005 02:30 IST

Pushed to the wall by his detractors over delayed action in tackling the flood crisis in Maharashtra, chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has found a shield in US president George W. Bush.

"Look at Bush and the devastation wreaked by hurricane Katrina in New Orleans,'' he said in a clear bid to silence dissidents who want a leadership change.

"If they (the dissidents) want, we are ready to send them there. Let them also read Bush's statement that it will take years to repair the damage done by the hurricane,'' he said to a pointed query.

Deshmukh referred to the New Orleans tragedy even when he presented a final report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought an enhancement of the central package to Rs 12,640 crore. He reiterated this when he later called on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to solicit her help in rebuilding Maharashtra.

There was no need for Deshmukh to open his file of press clippings on the destruction in the US, Bush's statement and the looting taking place there as the Congress president told him: "We've seen it on TV".

Deshmukh didn't pass up the opportunity to drive home the point that unlike New Orleans — where shoot-at-sight orders were issued to check looting — there was no civil unrest in Maharashtra while disbursing the first installment of the Rs 500 crore aid.

In fact, he even quipped that the time has come to advise the US on their expertise. "What we've done may not be to our full satisfaction but we did whatever was humanly possible," he added.

First Published: Sep 03, 2005 02:30 IST