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Jun 24, 2013 at 01:59pm IST

Jawans are the heroes of Uttarakhand, not politicians: Chidambaram

New Delhi: Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday took another swipe on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi saying jawans are the real heroes in Uttarakhand and not politicians who go there for 'photo ops'. "The real heroes are jawans and not politicians who going for photo ops. Let the jawans do their job," Chidambaram said. This comes even as Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is all set to conduct an aerial survey of Uttarakhand.

Reacting to the BJP questioning the government's rescue efforts, Chidambaram said, "We have managed disasters earlier and of course, disaster management will always be criticised, but we can deal with that later."

Politics came into play over Uttarakhand floods on Saturday after Modi ignored suggestions given by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde that chief ministers should not visit the hill state as it would hamper rescue operations. Modi undertook an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas in Uttarakhand on Saturday and also offered help to the state government in reconstructing the flood-ravaged Kedarnath shrine into one of the most modern temples in the country.

Modi also insisted that the situation in Uttarakhand should be declared a national calamity. Shinde, however, opposed the suggestion saying, "What is the gain in declaring it as a national calamity? It is a natural calamity and we are doing our best to tackle the disaster and allot the best resources for rescue and rehabilitation."

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari also hit out at Modi on Sunday. Dismissing reports that the Gujarat Chief Minister had helped in evacuation of thousands of people from flood-hit Uttarakhand, Tewari said such claims reflected "rank opportunism" to try and "milk a tragedy for political reasons".

"Now in all this, 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," he added. The Congress leader also asked the media to refrain from sensationalising issues.

(With additional information from PTI)