Cyclone Ockhi disrupts Gujarat election campaign, rallies cancelled
New Delhi: In the midst of poll preparations, the Gujarat government has turned its attention to dealing with Cyclone Ockhi, which is expected to make landfall near Surat at midnight on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also urged all Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in the state to step up relief efforts.
“With Cyclone Ockhi expected to make landfall in Gujarat, I appeal to Gujarat BJP karyakartas (workers) to focus on helping people across the state. Our karyakartas should devote themselves to providing all possible assistance and stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens,” Modi tweeted.
All coastal districts in the state have been put on high alert over the cyclone, which is likely to make landfall in south Gujarat. Modi also tweeted that the centre was “continuously monitoring the situation arising in various parts of the country due to Cyclone Ockhi and all possible assistance is being provided to those affected.”
The BJP said in a statement that it had cancelled party president Amit Shah’s poll rallies scheduled in Rajula town of Amreli district, as well as Mahuva and Shihor in Bhavnagar district. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s rally in Surat was also called off by the party.
While Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi held a rally in Anjar town in Kutch district, the party cancelled three other rallies in Morbi, Dhrangadhra and Surendranagar.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has advised fishermen along the eastern and western coasts of the state against venturing out to sea over the next three days, and the Union home ministry’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Tuesday said that it had deployed teams in Gujarat.
“Six teams of NDRF have been deployed across Surat, Navsari, Amreli, Valsad and Bhavnagar in Gujarat. We are prepared to move swiftly when the cyclone makes landfall. If required, more teams will be deployed later,” said a senior NDRF official, requesting anonymity.
The Election Commission of India, on Tuesday, also issued a notification to electoral officers in Gujarat, instructing them to ensure that necessary steps are put in place in the wake of Cyclone Ockhi so that “all electors in poll-bound assembly segments are able to exercise their franchise without any inconvenience.”
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