Prime Minister Narendra Modi has this morning asked BJP workers in Gujarat, currently engaged in hectic electioneering, to focus on helping people as Cyclone Ockhi closes in. It is expected to make landfall, or hit the shore, near Surat in Gujarat around midnight.
"With #CycloneOckhi expected to make a landfall in Gujarat, I appeal to @BJP4Gujarat Karyakartas to focus on helping people across the state. Our Karyakartas should devote themselves to providing all possible assistance and stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens, PM Modi has tweeted.
He also said that he is "continuously monitoring the situation arising in various parts of the country due to #CycloneOckhi." PM Narendra Modi said that he has spoken to officials and that all "possible assistance is being provided to those affected."
The cyclone, which caused extensive damage and resulted in the death of over 20 people in coastal Kerala and Tamil Nadu, is now passing by the Maharashtra coast. There has been rain in Mumbai and several other parts of the state, with reports of hailstorm in some parts of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Schools are closed in Mumbai and neighbouring towns today as a precaution.
Cyclone Ockhi is expected to weaken into a deep depression near coastal Gujarat before making landfall.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF have been stationed along the coast near Surat and Saurashtra. Light to moderate rain has been predicted for the area through the day. Fishermen have been asked not to go into the deep sea.
Gujarat, PM Narendra Modi's home state, votes for a new government on two days starting this Saturday, December 9. Voting will also be held on December 14 and votes will be counted on December 18. The BJP has been in power in the state for the last 22 years.