Two days after he advised VIPs not to visit Uttarakhand, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Wednesday did a U-turn saying that anyone, including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, could go to the rain-ravaged state now as the situation has changed there.
Facing flak for his comment as Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had visited Uttarakhand the day he advised VIPs not to tour the hill state, Shinde said situation there has improved considerably.
"I had advised VIPs not to travel Uttarakhand as situation then was different. At that time rescue and relief operations were going on in full swing. The advice was for only three-four days. But now situation has changed. Anyone can go there. Even Modi can go," he told reporters.
Shinde was responding to a question about Rahul Gandhi's visit to Uttarakhand despite his request to VIPs.
On Monday, Shinde had said VIPs should not visit Uttarakhand as such visits created difficulties in relief and rescue operations.
"We advise all VIPs not to visit Uttarakhand now. All agencies are engaged in relief and rescue efforts...Such visits hamper their works," he had said.
The Home Minister even said if any VIP does not listen to the advise, he may not be given landing permission in Uttarakhand.
Several VIPs have visited Uttarakhand in the wake of the natural disaster to oversee relief and rescue operations.
While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi have made aerial visit to the hill state, Shinde himself, chief ministers Narendra Modi (Gujarat), Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Haryana), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) and Prithviraj Chavan (Maharashtra) have visited Uttarakhand in the last few days to review relief operations.
Representatives of several other state governments too have toured Uttarakhand.