Accusing Narendra Modi of politicising the Uttarakhand tragedy, I&B Minister Manish Tewari on Sunday said that after making a "tourist detour" via the deluge-hit state, some people were tom-tomming "myths" that they had rescued thousands of people.
"It is indeed unfortunate that when a part of India is trying to grapple with a natural disaster, there are some people who are absolutely unabashed in politicising it. They had to go to Pathankot so they make a tourist detour via Uttarakhand and then started claiming, that solo, they were able to rescue 15,000 people," Tewari said in an apparent reference to Modi.
"If someone can put out such myths, I leave it to the people of the country, how reliable are their utterances and how profound are their achievements," he said.
The Information and Broadcasting Minister was referring to reports which said Modi, on his trip to Uttarakhand, had with the help of a team of his officials managed to evacuate 15,000 people from the deluge-affected areas of the hill state.
He also took pot shots at the Gujarat CM, saying his criticism of the UPA government's Bharat Nirman campaign reflected that the opposition was scared.
"The Bharat Nirman campaign has indeed hit where it hurts. And the hurt manifest themselves whenever the Chief Minister of Gujarat speaks. He has only seen phase-I of Bharat Nirman, there are other phases coming," Tewari said.
"So, they should wait and prepare themselves because it is very evident that they are scared of facing the truth in the mirror of Bharat Nirman," he said.
In his speech at Pathankot this afternoon, Modi took a dig at Bharat Nirman advertising campaign run by UPA government on various TV channels.
"The advertisement said 'bharat ke nirman pe haq hai mera' (I have a right to India's development). I say 'bharat nirman pe shaq hai mera' (I have doubt over India's development)," Modi had said.
Tewari told reporters here, "...If somebody wants to become a Rambo and claims that he alone in a span of two days during a trip of disaster tourism brought out 15,000 people, I am afraid for the lack of a better word, it just reflects rank opportunism and sheer desperation to try and politicise and even milk a tragedy for political reasons.
Tewari rejected Modi's criticism of the UPA government on matters related to national security and economy in the speech that the BJP leader gave in Pathankot.
"I am surprised that homilies are being delivered to us on national security by those people who had chaperoned terrorists all the way to Kandahar and by those people who on affidavit have submitted before the Supreme Court that their governments were responsible for killing innocents in fake encounters," he said.
Tewari said the government was being subjected to homilies on economy but statistics show that from 1998 to 2004 (under NDA rule), Indian economy grew by 5.8 per cent while between 2004 and 2013 (under UPA), despite the economic meltdown, the economy grew at eight per cent.
The minister counter attacked BJP on another barb that Modi had hurled at the government by saying there were two bosses in the country.
"They say there are two power centres in Delhi. How many power 'un'centres are there in the Bharatiya Janata Party, may I ask?," he said, adding he had earlier tweeted that there was a civil between the Sangh and the party.
Tewari also said these people seem to remember some of the utterances of Atal Behari Vajpayee but conveniently forget his famous utterance about 'Raj Dharma'.
On Gujarat CM's comment that Bharat Nirman ads had been withdrawn after his remarks against the campaign, Tewari said some people think that the entire universe is because of them.
To a question on declaring Uttarakhand floods as national calamity, Tewari said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi have already declared Rs 145 crore for the state government. He said the definition of 'national calamity' had been changed to 'severe calamity.'