Rahul Gandhi goes to flood-hit Uttarakhand

Gauchar, PTI | Updated : 24 June 2013, 10:44 PM

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Monday travelled to flood-ravaged Uttarakhand and had an overnight halt here.

The visit came amid criticism from the opposition for his absence from flood and landslide-hit Uttarakhand. Heavy rains pounded the hill state on June 16 triggering the disaster.

Congress sources said Rahul will monitor the relief work being done by the party during his visit. A ITBP battalion centre is located in Gauchar town.

At the AICC briefing in Delhi, party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary ducked the question on the number of days the Congress leader will stay in Uttarakhand, saying it is immaterial.

"That does not matter. He (Rahul) is there and working," Chowdhary said.

Party sources said Rahul is also expected to meet the victims during his visit.

Rahul, who along with party chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday flagged off a convoy of trucks carrying relief material from Delhi, will be visiting the AICC control room set up in Dehradun to monitor the relief work being done by the party.

"Rahul Gandhi is not going there as a VIP. He is going there as a citizen, as the vice-president of Congress to oversee that the relief materials reach in place. Rahul did not say I am a Rambo and I did this and I did that," Chowdhary said, as she tried to make a difference between Rahul's visit and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's tour of the flood-hit areas.

Opposition parties, mainly BJP, had questioned Rahul's absence at the time of the calamity and Congress spokespersons have had to face tough questions during the party's regular press briefings on the issue.

Chowdhury said Congress works as a team and it is not necessary that all leaders visit a place together and hamper the work.

She apparently lost cool, when asked why Rahul has been found absent during occasions, when the country is fighting some big crisis.

"You do not know what he (Rahul) is doing. What do you want we should be telling you when does he has his hair cut and such things? Everybody is not like that to publicise all petty things, when does he spit out, when does he sneeze," she said responding to questions on why does Congress party not tell what Rahul was doing on those occasions.

Minister of Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes today said, "We are working (for relief and rescue) under his (Rahul's) inspiration and Sonia Gandhi's leadership."

Congress has set up a control room at Dehradun to accelerate the relief work. AICC Secretary Sanjay Kapoor and the party's wing Seva Dal's chief Mahendra Joshi have already been sent to Dehradun to monitor the work.

First Published: Monday, June 24, 2013 10:41 PM
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