The devastating floods in Kerala have now become a slugfest for settling scores for political parties camouflaging the mudslinging under the guise of being sensitive towards the flood victims. Earlier this week, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan announced in a press briefing that the UAE has ‘offered’ financial assistance of Rs. 700 crore for Kerala floods relief.
Some media outlets like TheNewsMinute quoted that the same has been communicated by the UAE administration to Prime Minister Modi on 21st August regarding the same.
Soon after Kerala CM’s announcement, controversies started pouring in on how a foreign country is offering Rs. 700 crore relief while the central government has offered ‘only’ Rs. 600 crore while the chief minister had requested for an immediate release of Rs. 2,000 crore to deal with the crisis.
Meanwhile, it also came to light that the UAE government’s ‘offer’ was conveyed to the Kerala CM not through the government but by businessman M.A. Yusuf Ali, the owner of Lulu Supermarkets.
So, how did the Kerala CM announce the UAE government’s offer without having received any official communication from the government?
But by then, the narrative was already built. Soon, the Centre was under fire for not ‘accepting‘ the aid by the UAE government. However, such refusal was in line with the policy adopted by the previous Dr Manmohan Singh government during previous natural calamities like the 2004 Tsunami and 2013 Uttarakhand floods. In 2004, a policy was set of refusing to accept foreign aid for disasters as not only a diplomatic tool but also to enforce the self-reliance of India.
However, now the UAE government has come out and claimed that no such official announcement for the flood relief is made by the UAE on any specific amount. As reported by Indian Express, the UAE Ambassador Ahmed Albanna said that there is no official announcement so far on the specific financial aid. Albanna categorically denied the announcement of Rs. 700 crore aid.
Meanwhile, Communist Party of India, the second biggest constituent in the ruling Left Democratic Front, came down heavily on Centre for ‘rejecting’ the offer of UAE, which never came through. The CPI said if the Centre wants to reject the Rs. 7 billion offer from the UAE, it should give Rs. 26 billion interim assistance the state is asking for. CPI even accused the Centre of standing in ‘false prestige’ for not accepting the offer that was never made in the first place?
This brings out bigger questions. Who planted the fake news that the UAE government has offered financial aid? Why was the same accounced by the Kerala CM without having received any official communication? Who benefits from the political mudslinging in wake of a disaster?