The Central government's well-intended move, to send trains carrying water to drought-hit Bundelkhand, has not gone down well with the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh.
In a curt reply to the Railways, the UP government reportedly said that the water situation in Bundelkhand is not as bad as Latur, where trains carrying water were sent to ease the plight of the residents.
The UP government also took to its official Twitter page to share the various initiatives being taken by the state government to restore water in the dry parts of the state.
Water bodies of Jalaun, Bundelkhand are restored and monitored by district officials to ensure water for all. pic.twitter.com/GON1pjcjAg— Government of UP (@UPGovt) May 5, 2016
47 district officials are supervising the water supply operation of Chitrakoot, Bundelkhand ensuring water for all. pic.twitter.com/EfzEbc7Jtk— Government of UP (@UPGovt) May 5, 2016
The UP CM asked the center to provide 10,000 road tankers to distribute water instead. Further, he has reportedly asked Jhansi District Magistrate to verify if water train sent by Centre had water or not.
UPCM @yadavakhilesh requests GOI for 10,000 road tankers to distribute water in Bundelkhand from available water resources around the region— CM Office, GoUP (@CMOfficeUP) May 5, 2016
This comes a day after Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted about the decision to send trains carrying water to Bundelkhand.
#bundelkhand is suffering water shortage.We are working on supplying water through trains, putting Logistics in place to help our brethren— Suresh Prabhu (@sureshpprabhu) May 4, 2016
The water train was intended for the Mahoba area of Bundelkhand, where around 40 villages are facing a crippling shortage of water. Half of the hand-pumps have dried up due to the receding water levels, NDTV reported.
The tiff between the state and the PM Narendra Modi-led central government on the water train issue seems to have a political tinge. With assembly polls in UP scheduled for next year, the battle for taking credit for something as important as water in the drought-hit area, will certainly boost electoral prospects.
However, this is not the first time that PM Narendra Modi and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav have been at odds.
In 2014, Narendra Modi, then the BJP's prime ministerial candidate and chief minister of Gujarat took a dig at Akhilesh during his rally in Bareilly, saying that the UP government was unable to handle lions from Gujarat.
"Your chief minister (Akhilesh) was asking us for lions. We gave them lions. We had hoped they may draw some strength from seeing the lions. But they could not handle the Gujarat lions. The lions had to be caged. Netaji(Mulayam Singh Yadav), your son, your daughter-in-law, your brother, please come to Gir forests and see how lions roam freely," Modi had said.
In response, Akhilesh had then said that the lions were living peacefully in Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow Zoo and would be later transferred to a lion safari spread across 3,000 acres in Etawah. He said that during his recent visit to Lucknow Zoo the lions had greeted him twice by "welcoming him" during his entry and "thanking him for bringing them here" as he was leaving.
"As we are not aware of the language of lions, forest officers who used to take care of them told me that they roared to welcome me when I came and then again while I was leaving to thank me," Yadav said.