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Feel it, ‘try’ to fix it, forget it

By Deepal Trevedie
Ahmedabad, April 30



Terming Gujarat’s drought as “dangerously serious,” Union home minister L.K. Advani and Union agriculture minister Sunderlal Patwa have now left it to Indra, the raingod, to salvage the state from the century’s worst drought.

Instead of making any concrete announcements for assistance or providing viable suggestions, both Mr Advani and Mr Patwa said they hoped that the raingods this time would not ditch Gujarat.

The Union minister even claimed that a large number of Gujaratis living outside India were very keen to help their motherland in distress and he would soon ensure that no administrative hassles blocked the way of “enthusiastic” Non Resident Gujaratis in helping out their country.

After a whirlwind tour to the drought-affected districts of Surendranagar and Patan, where the ministers did not bother to visit a single relief work but simply met people pre-decided by the local BJP leaders, the ministers told a crowded press conference that they were satisfied with the Keshubhai Patel government’s efforts in meeting the challenges.

Gujarat’s burden, owing to the drought, is estimated at Rs 1,100 crores. The central leaders did not spell out exact amount of financial assistance. The public relations exercise of the state BJP government, aided by top bureaucrats, ensured that Central ministers’ visit to the drought-affected areas turned out to be a re-affirmation of “the phenomenally outstanding relief work” initiated by the government. Mr Advani said it was the first time, in his long public life, that during a visit to a site of natural calamity, the people did not have any complaints.

However, accompanying media persons saw an assertive finance minister Vaju Vala trying to hold back a local sarpanch from complaining to the Union minister.


 
 
 
 

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