New Delhi, June 24: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who was missing at the moment when his countrymen were stranded in Uttarakhand due to flood, returned from his unknown tour in foreign country. The number 2 in the party made his first public appearance post flood havoc on Monday, June 24.
The young Gandhi family scion was seen flagging off trucks carrying relief material for the victims of flash floods in Uttarakhand. He was accompanied by his mother Sonia Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders such as -- Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, AICC General Secretaries Ambika Soni and Ajay Maken and many others.
The latest move by Congress in the presence of Rahul clearly showed how the party leaders have been trying to overshadow Narendra Modi in connection with relief and rescue work in the flood-hit region.
The Gujarat Chief Minister earlier had visited the region on Saturday. According to media reports, the CM along with a team of senior officials had ensured the evacuation of 15,000 stranded Gujaratis from Uttarakhand.
The Congress, however, slammed Modi as the party called it, "a 'Rambo act' that reflected the rank opportunism and the sheer desperation to try and politicise and even milk tragedy for political gains."
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), meanwhile, hit back at the criticism questioning Rahul's absence during the time of crisis. BJP leader was quoted as saying, "All those who say that Narendra Modi should go back should search their souls. If Rahul Gandhi is needed and he is in a foreign country then let him be there."
Rahul had faced tremendous criticism over his recent disappearance act. However, party sources informed that the young leader would visit the flood-ravaged state on Monday.
Disaster Management minister Yashpal Arya was quoted as saying, "At least 5,000 people must have been killed in the deluge that inflicted heavy damage on vast tracts of land especially in Kedarnath valley."
The official death toll till Sunday was put at 680 while Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said the death toll is likely to be around 1,000.