The Nitish Kumar government should demand that the Centre declare Bihar floods as "national calamity", as it is not enough for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold an interaction with chief ministers of states hit by deluge, former Union minister Yashwant Sinha said on Tuesday.
No relief material has reached the flood-affected people of Bihar, who have been forced to take shelter along with their cattle on higher places such as national highways and embankments, Mr Sinha claimed.
"Seventy-five lakh people have been affected by the flood. A vast area of north Bihar has been inundated. The Bihar government should request the central government to declare it as "national calamity". The prime minister's interaction with chief ministers on floods is not enough," he said.
The former BJP leader's assertions came a day after PM Modi held a virtual meeting with chief ministers of six flood-hit states including Bihar.
"The prime minister should have come to the state. At least, he should have undertaken an aerial survey of the flood affected areas," he told reporters outside Raj Bhavan.
Mr Sinha led a delegation to Raj Bhavan and submitted a memorandum on the state's flood situation to an official, as Governor Phagu Chauhan did not give him an appointment.
Mr Sinha, who held the finance and external affairs portfolios in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, had taken political ''sanyas'' after quitting the BJP nearly two years ago but returned to party politics in June ahead of the assembly elections in Bihar.
"It is disappointing to know that the governor refused to meet the team," said Mr Sinha who is now the convenor of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
He said that his team visited several flood affected areas between August 3 and 5 and interacted with victims, which formed the basis of the memorandum.
It also contained seven-eight "important suggestions" including the demand for declaring the states flood as a national calamity, he said.
The state government makes tall claims that it has done a lot for the people of Bihar but the flood victims told his team that they have not got any support from the administration, Mr Sinha said, taking a swipe at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The Chief Minister, who chose to remain indoors for months, carried out an aerial survey of Darbhanga, Valimikinagar and some other areas when his (Mr Sinha's) team started undertaking visits of areas hit by the calamity, the UDA convenor claimed.
"I am neither scared of the police nor that of coronavirus. I am just discharging my duty towards the people," he said.