Going Up in Smoke That Never Was: A USD 100 Million from UAE

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UAE ambassador to India Ahmed Albanna confirms that no aid offer of Rs 700 crore was made by the UAE. This places the Vijayan government in Kerala, the state with the communists in power, in an untenable position. The CM, who jumped the gun, also made others to jump the gun, including the Congress with Randeep Surjewala taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by tweeting “Na Madad Karunga, Na Madad Lene Doonga.” A report for Different Truths.

Flood waters that badly wounded Kerala’s present and jeopardized its future are receding but controversies swirl and one of them involves the sandy country of UAE “which is a home away from home” for the Malayali, according to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Turns out ‘home away from home’, while showing concern for the Malayali in distress, did not offer the “aid of Rs 700 crores” as claimed by Vijayan.

UAE ambassador to India Ahmed Albanna confirms that no aid offer of Rs 700 crore was made by the UAE. This places the Vijayan government in Kerala, the state with the communists in power, in an untenable position. The CM, who jumped the gun, also made others to jump the gun, including the Congress with Randeep Surjewala taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by tweeting “Na Madad Karunga, Na Madad Lene Doonga.”

The unhappy part was that the people of Kerala, who were overwhelmed by “the UAE offer” and grateful for the largesse at a time when Malayalis were literally neck-deep in water and drowning in a mass despair, have become victims to a “ruse”. Sections of the media also went overboard and without checking facts celebrated with the state and the people the “aid from UAE”.

A simultaneous left versus right faceoff further muddied the waters and the Centre was a sitting duck for trolls not only from India but also from the Gulf, who were “misled” by local newspaper reports, with even Pakistani expats in the Gulf joining the tirade against the Government of India, giving it a communal Hindu-versus-Muslim colour. “Was the Rs 700 crore UAE aid floated to malign India?” asks a television channel.

Another TV channel which made it a business to lambast the Modi government for standing in the way of UAE’s heart-felt offer has suddenly gone silent. Now, leaders of various political parties, who too “jumped the gun”, are falling over each other to get out, while in the act of shifting gears to take in the new developments.

The “embarrassment” spans an ocean and the rulers of the UAE are equally caught in the squall. The UAE in reality never “put out any numbers”. It was Pinarayi who announced that the “crown prince of UAE has told the Prime Minister that $100 million, Rs 700 crore in aid.” Apparently a prominent UAE businessman of Indian-origin hailing from Kerala was the source of Vijayan’s revelation.

Now, it emerges that the UAE was only “constituting a committee to consider aid” and how much should the amount be. Friday, the UAE came out in the open and announced that it never offered any aid of Rs 700 crore. So, why did the PM butt in and “thank” the UAE government? The Centre says to that now that “countries do that routinely.”

TV channels such as India Today TV, which mounted a scathing attack on the Centre “for refusing the aid” are fighting to keep the canard alive. Thursday night journalist Rajdeep Sardesai was persistent in demanding an answer to the question: “What if it was a BJP ruled state, would the Centre refuse?” Sections of the media have covered themselves in silt post the Kerala floods and are not ready to get out of their own slush.

Bottom-line: No state can aspire to usurp “external affairs” from the Centre and no media can call for such a switch. But that was what nearly happened, no apologies sought or offered. Union Minister KJ Alphons as called for charges under the National Security Act against the mischief mongers but that is not going to happen, or will it?

Point is, flood and aid apart, the Kerala government has other battles to fight, notably the one against Tamil Nadu regarding waters stored and released from the Mullaperiyar Dam. In the dock for allegedly not stopping water flow into the dam from Tamil Nadu, the EPS government says “it’s all bull”; if anybody is to blame, it’s Kerala which “released water from all dams at one go.”

“Kerala’s accusations towards Tamil Nadu are false and baseless. If you say, excess water was discharged from one dam (Mullaperiyar) then how did water reach all parts of Kerala? The excess discharge of water from 80 dams caused flood in Kerala,” Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Palaniswami said Friday, rejecting Kerala’s “false and baseless” claims.

All in all, the climate and weather seems Against Kerala and Malayalis such as Yours Truly are disappointed. Things could have been managed much better. The people of Kerala should take things into their hands, not get into political and communal fights, and convince Modi that it’s the Centre’s duty to lift Kerala out f the waterhole. A mass signature campaign to inundate Modi, flood him with millions of signatures, might do the trick. Half of the 1.25 billion will add their names to the campaign and, by God, it will work!

Aditya Aamir

©IPA Service

Photo from the Internet