Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted on Monday that while in Uttarakhand, his state's rescue teams not only rescued MP natives, they also helped pilgrims from "various states", taking a dig at his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi who was heavily criticised after reports of him rescuing 15,000 Gujaratis from the flood-hit state surfaced. His tweet came even as sources said the Congress has advised its ministers and party leaders not to make comments against other parties and their leaders on Twitter.
Congress and BJP leaders had squabbled over reports that BJP leader Modi rescued 15,000 people from his state, with some Congress leaders branding him "Rambo". Modi, who is a frontrunner to be the Main Opposition's prime ministerial candidate for 2014 general elections, was heavily criticised for rescuing only Gujaratis when thousands still awaited evacuation.
"Apart from rescuing pilgrims from MP, our rescue teams have rescued 1810 pilgrims from various states without any discrimination," Chouhan tweeted. "MP choppers rescued 292 pilgrims of Madhya Pradesh and 247 of other states as well," another tweet said.
Earlier, BJP patriarch LK Advani, who resigned from all party posts when Modi was chosen as the Election Campaign Committee Chairman but later returned, had praised Chouhan for rebuilding a "bimaru" state like Madhya Pradesh when Modi did the same with an already healthy state.
Modi's rescue efforts once again came under fire when he offered to rebuild the Kedarnath temple, which was damaged by floods and landslides. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna had then rejected his offer saying the state government will bear the expenses.
At that point, Chouhan had once again differed with his Gujarat counterpart and had said the time is not right to discuss reconstruction of the shrine and that Bahuguna-led government can handle the damage done to it. "The time is not right... There is no hurry in talking about the reconstruction of the Kedarnath temple. It will be taken care of by the Uttarakhand government," Chouhan had said.
Chouhan's tweet came on the same day of Congress and BJP leaders indulging in a bitter political battle over the Uttarakhand tragedy. On Monday, the two parties squabbled yet again with Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj demanding that Vijay Bahuguna-led government in Uttarakhand should be dismissed.
But, Bahuguna dismissed demands for his resignation and told CNN-IBN that he refused help from Modi because he didn't want a parallel rescue operation. "(Swaraj's demand of dismissal of Uttarakhand government comes) without being fully aware of the problem and the gigantic effort made by the state administration, the Army and other agencies. Other states have faced such calamities and I don't think such a demand was made by any political leader of this country," he said.
He further said that while he appreciated Modi's offer to help rebuild Kedarnath, he could not allow a parallel rescue operation by any other state. "Modi was kind enough to come here. He offered me Rs 5 crores and I sent him two letter of thanks. The other thing that he was offering was that he wanted to send helicopters to the affected areas to evacuate people from Gujarat. Other states requested the same. You can't segregate people of this country into states," Bahuguna said.