At the hour of crisis, the common man stood up against adversity and extended a helping hand. Politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats and private employees came forward to donate one month’s salary for rebuilding Kerala. Governor P Sathasivam, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, former minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, Kochi Metro Rail managing director APM Mohammed Hanish and many others accepted the Chief Minister’s call and donated a month’s salary.
But the sense of harmony soon vanished as narrow political gains gained momentum. The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) meeting held on August 22 slammed the government for the delay in opening the dams and the failure in relief work. The BJP state leadership also launched an offensive against the Pinarayi Vijayan government alleging that the flood was more a manmade disaster. The Opposition Congress and the BJP pointed fingers at Power Minister MM Mani for delaying the release of water to generate more electricity.
Pushed to the defensive, the ruling CPI(M) launched an all-out attack on the Union Government alleging that the Centre had rejected a `700-crore offer from the UAE Government for flood relief. This triggered a political debate shifting the focus from the relief work to political mudslinging. The BJP questioned the claim. According to the BJP, the UAE Government did not mention any amount. But the CPI(M) leaders alleged that the Union Government had turned down the UAE offer. UAE ambassador Ahmed Albannam, without mentioning financial aid, said his government only set up a national emergency committee to provide relief assistance to people affected by flash floods in Kerala.
Members of the DYFI, Youth Congress and Seva Bharathi, who stood abreast to help the flood victims, started asserting themselves. There were clashes as some party workers tried to kick relief workers out and gain control of relief camps. Though politics has overtaken compassion, the common man has opened his heart and chequebook for the displaced.
❖ The KPCC slammed the government for delay in opening the dams
❖ The BJP alleged that the flood was a manmade disaster
❖ CPI (M) alleged that the Centre rejected a `700-crore offer from the UAE Government