At a time when the whole nation is reeling in shock following the devastation caused by the killer floods in Uttarakhand in the last few days, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi reportedly rescued only Gujaratis from the affected areas, inviting criticism from various quarters.
It was reported that team Narendra Modi rescued 15,000 Gujaratis from flood-ravaged Uttarakhand during his two-day stay in the state.
Apart from Congress, the Shiv Sena, ally of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), have also come out in the open to critiscise Modi's parochial attitude in rescuing the flood victims.
The Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece, Saamna, took a dig at Modi, who is BJP's prospective prime ministerial candidate after being made the party's campaign chief for the forthcoming general elections. The party in its editorial accused him of politicizing the rescue operations in the state by rescuing only Gujaratis.
"He is seen as a potential prime ministerial candidate so he should not just be bothered about the wellbeing of Gujarat and Gujaratis," said the Saamna editorial, adding, "It would be better if Modi's propagandists exercise restraint in future."
Meanwhile, a Gujarat government official reportedly told Rediff news that the state government had done everything it could in helping the Uttarakhand government in the rescue operations. The official said that all the people rescued by the Gujarat government were not Gujaratis.
Yes, Narendra Modi's rescue team might have rescued some non-Gujaratis too but their main focus was apparently its people from the state.
"Modi was camping at the Gujarat Bhavan in New Delhi, on the night of June 17. The next day, he was to attend the annual plan meeting. We had an emergency meeting at night to take stock of the situation. Gujaratis have deep faith in the 'Char Dham yatra' so we knew that there will be easily more than 20,000 Gujaratis in Uttarakhand. Only common sense was needed to understand the issue," a government official told Rediff.
The Gujarat government, like other state governments, did a commendable job in rescuing thousands of people stranded in the flood-hit region. In a way, they have helped the overall rescue operations even if they picked only Gujaratis, as the agencies that were trying to take the victims to a safer location will have fewer people to deal with.
However, rescuing only certain people from the state, at a time when all victims face the same grim situation, will be a painful scene. Those who were left out during the operation just because they didn't belong to a certain state, will start questioning their "Indianess" even after being saved.
The Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, which carried out most of the rescue works, helped the victims through the rocky hills and flooding rivers without looking at their race, creed or colour. For them, they were there to save human beings, and it should be that way.