The Nitish Kumar government may have come in for widespread criticism over its handling of the Patna floods, but the "casual attitude" of state opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav has also raised a few eyebrows across the state.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader was in Goa attending a seminar when heavy rainfall hit Patna on September 27, killing 40 and displacing lakhs in the days that followed. However, instead of rushing back to the state capital, he waited till Thursday to attend the electoral nomination of his brother-in-law Chiranjeev Rao from Rewari in Haryana.
Tejashwi Yadav finally touched down on Saturday evening, but until reports last came in, was yet to visit waterlogged areas in the city or speak to those affected. He, however, did criticise the manner in which the Nitish Kumar government had handled the situation.
"The entire state watched helplessly as the insensitive Nitish Kumar administration wilfully neglected their responsibilities. Floods, water logging, acute encephalitis syndrome deaths and the Muzaffarpur shelter home case are nothing but government-created disasters borne through its corrupt practices," Tejashwi Yadav claimed in an exclusive interview with news agency PTI, adding that the ruling coalition's attempts to blame "nature's fury" while trying to hide its own failures have been unsuccessful.
Although RJD workers launched relief operations during the floods, many among them complained that it was a lacklustre effort in the absence of a leader. Even a relatively low-key politician like Jan Adhikar Party founder Pappu Yadav managed to gain more mileage from the situation by launching rescue operations and distributing essential items such as water and food packets to those stranded in the floods.
A senior RJD leader told NDTV that Tejashwi Yadav was not receptive to advice from others in the party. "He has been behaving erratically since the party drew a blank in the Lok Sabha elections. The assembly session went on for over a month, but he was hardly there for two days. He did not even visit affected families during the encephalitis outbreak in June," he said.
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