UAE denies making Rs 700-cr offer for Kerala
National

UAE denies making Rs 700-cr offer for Kerala

New Delhi, Aug 24: The BJP on Friday lashed out at the Left leaders and a "section of society" aligning with the Leftists for triggering a big row on a supposed and illusive Rs 700-crore aid offer from UAE over the Kerala floods - which really was never there.

BJP leaders Dr Subramanian Swamy and Amit Malviya said there was "an attempt" being made by a section to present the relief and rescue works by the centre in poor light. Dr Swamy especially targeted "Indian communists" and said the matter has exposed them after UAE ambassador Ahmed Albanna stated categorically that there was any specific offer of Rs 700-crore help to the flood-ravaged state.

"UAE has not announced Rs 700-crore in aid. It is not yet final. It has not been announced.....The assessment of relief needed for the flood and aftermath is ongoing. Announcing any specific amount as financial aid, I don't think it is final, since it is still ongoing," the UAE envoy has been quoted as saying in a leading English daily.

Notably, the supposed Rs 700-crore offer talks persisted especially in social media after the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had made the statement on August 21 in a media conference. Interestingly, Rs 700-crore figure 'eclipses' or was more than the Rs 600-crore assistance announced by the central government so far - that includes special announcement of Rs 500-crore by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Dr Swamy said PM Modi particularly enjoys a good working rapport with the UAE leadership and apparently there was an attempt made to 'spoil' that good relation.

The row started off after Chief Minister Vijayan had stated that the UAE, which is home to hundreds of Keralites, had offered Rs 700-crore disaster aid. Vijayan had also tried to put pressure on the centre to accept the 'foreign aid' from UAE - by stating that some exception could be made with regard that country.

As a matter of policy, the Indian government has rejected the offer for any foreign aid saying it will stick to the existing policy that was enforced since 2004. Vijayan had also said that “UAE cannot be considered as any other nation”.

The Left-ruled state government had launched severe criticism of the central government after reports that the Ministry of External Affairs had rejected the UAE offer. Congress leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the incumbent Finance Minister of the state Thomas Isaac have flayed the centre.

"We asked Union Gov for financial support of Rs 2200-crore; they grant us a precious ₹600-crore. We make no request to any foreign gov but UAE gov voluntarily offer Rs 700-crore. No, says Union gov , it is below our dignity to accept foreign aid. This is a dog in the manger policy," tweeted Mr Isaac.

BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya said on Friday - "there was no offer at all....there is a section of people in Kerala, mostly aligned to the Left, who believe that the UAE in its illusionary offer has done lot more than the central government....This kind of deriding your own government, your people including the state of Tamil Nadu is something we must introspect". (UNI)