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Monday, 1 July 2013

BJP, Congress in a bitter tweet war on final day of U'khand rescue operations

Even as rescue operations in Uttarakhand looked all set to wind up on Monday, the politics over the tragedy raged on. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj demanded that the Uttarakhand state government be dismissed for handling the disaster incompetently.

Her tweet came after Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari hit out at her and BJP Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley for not visiting the disaster-struck state. He tweeted that while the BJP can criticise government proposals on CBI autonomy, it has no time to visit Uttarakhand. "H'onble LOP's have mindspace to critique govt proposals on CBI autonomy that are yet to be placed before SC but no time to visit Uttrakhand," he tweeted. One more tweet said, "Did anyone see LOP's in both houses express sympathy/visit disaster hit Uttrakhand This from a party that criticizes visits of. Cong leaders."

The war of words continued on Twitter with Swaraj hitting back at Tewari and saying they didn't visit Uttarakhand because Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde made a public statement that visits by dignitaries would hamper the rescue efforts. She added that it was she who woke Congress up about "the scale of the tragedy" when she spoke to Shinde on June 18.

Congress party's newly appointed head of its media cell took the opportunity to reply to Swaraj and tweeted "@SushmaSwarajbjp Pyre of many Victims of this Natural Calamity still warm. First BJP tried to take credit of evacuating 15000 in a day! 1/2 Instead of helping in relief works in U'khand, don't try to use this calamity as a Political Opportunity! #NoPoliticsOverCalamity," he tweeted.

Swaraj then launched an attack on the government saying it is terming enforcement of accountability politics. "What has your state Government done ? Nothing. The living are starving. The dead are being robbed. And you are patting you. Those who cannot govern in crisis do not deserve to be in the Government even for a day" she tweeted angrily.

This is not for the first time politics has played over the tragedy in which hundreds have perished. Earlier, Congress and the BJP squabbled over visits of Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi to the state. Post that war of words, in which Congress compared Modi to "Rambo", Congress and TDP leaders from Andhra Pradesh traded blows to each other at a Dehradun airport over who will transport the stranded pilgrims of their state back to their native places.

Soon, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman joined the social media war and tweeted "inept" handling of Uttarakhand tragedy cannot be tolerated. "If #NoPoliticsOverCalamity is used to cover up failure, is it ok? Using 15k story is deflecting from the issue. 15k story is questionable," she tweeted.

Swaraj had tweeted earlier in the day that, "I am sorry to say that the Government in Uttarakhand has not been able to rise to the occasion." "They ought to be dismissed for being inept and incompetent," a follow up tweet said. She went on to say, "Unfortunately, the Government in Delhi has also failed to provide the requisite leadership."

Off Twitter, the two parties continued to attack each other over the tragedy. "The casual attitude of the government even during such a tragic incident is unacceptable. The country is in a bad condition because of the Congress. The government's credibility is so bad that not even one country has offered help," said BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Congress spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das, while referring to Swaraj and Jaitley said, "Both are responsible politicians. I do not understand why both of them could not visit the affected area to see the devastation."


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