NEW DELHI, July 2;Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has claimed that teams from his State have rescued from flood-hit Uttarakhand 1,810 pilgrims belonging to various States ‘without any discrimination’.
Mr. Singh’s comment on Twitter on Monday came amid raging controversy over the claims, which were subsequently denied by the BJP, that a special team led by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had rescued 15,000 Gujaratis from the hill State.
Mr. Chouhan’s tweet triggered a deluge of responses primarily targeting the Gujarat Chief Minister. Here are a few samples.
“Suryanarayan Ganesh @gsurya @ChouhanShivraj Good sir, ur surely kicking @narendramodi where it hurts daily with such comments; please continue:)
“Ajatshatru Sharma @TheAjatshatru @gsurya These figures by @ChouhanShivraj appears to be legitimate, unlike @narendramodi’s 15000. But #Feku paid MSM won’t debate this.
“PC Narayanan ?@choyyan @gsurya @ChouhanShivraj u r very slow…!!!hahahahaha..!! @narendramodi Arun Mysore @arunmsk1h.
“@ChouhanShivraj So you are saying the figure #Feku claimed is exaggerated and # Feku discriminated though he did not rescue any one.Thnks.”
In another tweet, Mr. Chouhan said, “The first priority is to rescue stranded people and to find those who are still missing in Uttarakhand. I would reemphasise the fact that there shouldn’t be any politics.”
The controversy erupted after The Times of India Delhi edition carried a front-page report on June 23 saying Mr. Modi had rescued 15,000 Gujaratis stranded.
The Congress and several political and non-political parties had attacked Mr. Modi for projecting himself as ‘Rambo’ and seeking publicity even at the time of a disaster.
With the issue threatening to become a huge controversy, BJP chief Rajnath Singh came out with a statement that he had spoken to Mr. Modi who had conveyed that he never made such a statement.
After The Hindu carried a report quoting TOI reporter Anand Soondas as saying that the figure of 15,000 had come from the BJP functionaries, BJP Uttarakhand spokesman Anil Baluni has served a legal notice on the reporter seeking an apology within 72 hours or face the consequences.