New Delhi: The Congress today rejected BJP's charge that the flash flood in Uttarakhand is a result of "misgovernance" and "abuse and misuse of the system" and pointed out that the state was being ruled by the opposition party before Congress came back to power there.
Amid growing demands to declare floods and landslide disaster in Uttarakand a national calamity, Congress said that it is under serious consideration of the government.
"The government is seriously considering it. The government has to take a decision," party spokesperson PC Chacko said when pointed out that BJP and some other parties are in favour of declaring it a national calamity.
He said the party has "not made any recommendation" as these things are decided by the government.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi had on Thursday said the "abuse and misuse of the system is basically causing damage to the governance structure of the country" and claimed that what has happened in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi also is a result of "mis- governance".
She had also said there was no early warning system and alleged the guidelines of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) have been violated.
Congress spokesperson Chacko, however, said "natural calamity of this magnitude are beyond prediction" and that steps that can be taken based on the warnings were taken.
"We came to power in Uttarakhand recently. How were we accountable? The opposition party was in rule before us. What did they do? We do not politicise the matter as we understand that in every state there are some developmental aspirations.
"Probably there were some instances when some advices would have been ignored. There actually needs to be a balance," Chacko said amid criticism from certain quarters that the Congress government in Uttarakhand did not take into account the issue of ecological balance.
In a release, AICC Communication Department in-charge Ajay Maken said party chief Sonia Gandhi will be visiting relief camps and other affected areas very soon.
Chacko said while there is a need to maintain a balance between the development needs and ecology, "every government tends to fall in the trap. This may have happened before (when BJP had ruled the state).
In the press release, Maken said that after an aerial survey of flood-affected area along with the prime minister on Thursday, Gandhi is in constant touch with the chief ministers of Uttarkhand Himachal Pradesh and instructions are being given to establish communication links with and supply food materials to flood-hit people.
"The Central government has sanctioned Rs 1,000 crores out of which, Rs 150 crores have already being released. Nearly 20 helicopters are pressed into service. In fact, 5,500 army men and 3,000 border road organization people, ITBP - altogether nearly 9,000 para-military jawans are in the field risking their lives," he said.
Claiming that the party and the government are making "all-out efforts", he said the entire operation is being monitored by the Congress president in the last two days and instructing the Chief Ministers and Congress units to help in the rescue operations.