Modi was no Rambo, just Scambo, in Uttarakhand

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After falling hook, line and dhokla for the PR fiction that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Damodardas Modi had “rescued” 15,000 Gujaratis in Uttarakhand, The Times of India attempts a feeble course correction on its editorial page today.

Abheek Barman, the former Economic Times editor, does some elemental number-crunching of the sort TOI’s reporter Anand Soondas ought to have done, to show that Modi’s Himalayan miracle was a “barefaced, cynical lie”.

But without once mentioning that it was TOI which was responsible for the original, barefaced, cynical lie.

“Reports say that Modi pulled off this coup with a fleet of 80 Innovas. How did these cars manage to reach places like Kedarnath, across roads that have been washed away, over landslides that have wrecked most access routes?

“But let us assume Modi’s Innovas had wings as well as helicopter rotors. Including the driver, an Innova is designed to carry seven people. In a tough situation, assume you could pack nine passengers into each car.

“In that case, a convoy of 80 Innovas could ferry 720 people down the mountains to Dehradun at one go. To get 15,000 people down, the convoy would need to make 21 round trips.

“The distance between Dehradun and Kedarnath is 221 km. So 21 trips up and down would mean that each Innova would have to travel nearly 9,300 km.

“It takes longer to travel in the hills than in the plains. So, assuming an average speed of 40 km per hour, it would take 233 hours of driving to pull off the feat.

“This assumes non-stop driving, without a second’s rest to identify the Gujaratis to be rescued and keeping the rest of the distressed folk at bay, or any time to load and unload the vehicles. And forget about any downtime for the gallant rescuers.

“That is nearly 10 days of miraculous work. And Modi pulled it off in a day.

“Actually, in less than a day: a breathless media reported that by Saturday, 25 luxury buses had brought a group of Gujaratis back to Delhi. For some reason, four Boeing aircraft also idled in some undisclosed place nearby.”

Read the full article: Modi’s Himalayan miracle

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21 Responses to “Modi was no Rambo, just Scambo, in Uttarakhand”

  1. harkol Says:

    It was obvious that the report of 15,000 people were ‘rescued’ wasn’t accurate.

    What most probably happened was a few thousand folks were ferried out of Dehradoon (Not kedarnath).

    But the efficient PR machine of Modi would’ve kicked in and overblown the news. For TOI (and others) to have fallen hook, line and sinker for such tactics is unfortunate. What we have come to expect from TOI – most of its reports should be taken with a spoon of salt.

    However, the reports that Modi was there for two days and did make an effort with the state’s disaster response specialists is not being refuted by anyone. That’s more than what can be said of most other state functionaries.

    Playing politics is what comes naturally to politicians. Disaster or no disaster.

  2. Kumar Says:

    The actual figures of evacuation of pilgrims by the Gujarat government under the leadership of Modi will never be known because the chartered Boeing planes made five trips to Gujarat from Dehradun, there were hundreds of other cars, buses and trucks engaged by the government.

    Also, all those helped by the Gujarat government were not Gujaratis. For example, a group of 10 holy men from the Sivagiri Mutt in Kerala were also trapped. They contacted Modi and they were also located in the mountains and rescued.

    Modi wrote a detailed letter to Mallikarjun Kharge, the railway minister, requesting him to arrange for special trains. Modi requested that the railways should not charge the fare and serve free food on trains because people had lost everything.

    Senior officers of the Gujarat government started writing letters to the Uttarakhand government from June 18 onwards. In one of the letters written on June 18, they gave details of the 94 pilgrims lost somewhere in mountains of the Kedar Valley. But, soon officers understood that by writing letters, things won’t move. So, more than 25 officers from Gujarat were sent along with doctors to Dehradun on June 19. Modi gave a cheque of Rs 2 crore to Uttarakhand when not many people had an actual idea of the disaster.

    Modi began his homework immediately after the news of the natural calamity broke. Gujaratis are known to undertake pilgrimages in large numbers and the state government had some rough estimates as to how many of them could be stranded in Uttrakhand. On 18 June, he dispatched Gujarat’s Relief Commissioner and Principal Secretary, PK Parmar, a senior IAS officer, to Dehradun. With him came a small group of IAS, IPS and IFS (Indian Forest Service) officers of Gujarat cadre who belonged to Uttrakhand and knew both the terrain and the people.

    By the time Modi came his officials had weighed situation, made an assessment and put some rescue and relief system in place. Modi landed with another group of select officers, qualified and trained in rescue and relief. But it was the BJP’s party machinery down to block level that he galvanized and put to test. Modi camp office at a hotel in Dehradun had all kinds of communication facilities – all his officers had numbers of BJP functionaries of all 190 mandals (blocks) in Uttrakhand and vice versa.

    While Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna appeared completely at loss and helpless, his Gujarat counterpart won many admirers in the Uttarakhand administration. A senior Uttrakhand state official said, “One cannot stop admiring Modi’s administrative skills and grasp of the situation.”

    The figure of evacuation of 15,000 pilgrims in two days can be surely doubted, but Gujarat state team’s drive and talent to handle the disaster cannot be.

  3. harkol Says:

    Oh! The writer of that TOI article was calling into question 15,000 number and involvement of APCO a PR firm.

    But, how unbiased is the author himself? Apparently I saw some tweets that he is the son-in-law of Union Minister BK Handique. If so, TOI has doubled its mindless publishing.

  4. ghelabhai Says:

    The PR machinery shows two things,
    1) its own stupidity (which I am not surprised about)
    2) modi’s need for one to be seen and heard

    Modi might show himself off as a saint but he is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Great costume, very believable acting but a wolf nonetheless.

  5. prajwal Says:

    Its TOI published 15k people rescued by Modi. Why they didnt verify before publish it. Just a cheap act by paid media.

  6. satish Says:

    The manner of reporting being done by the Indian media is very dangerous. The facts are never given out and only conjectures which are heavily biased, are published. We may vilify politicians when ever we get an opportunity. But we cannot deny that they have an important role to play. They connect the common people to the administration, bureaucrats and the ruling class and guide them in obtaining their entitlements.

    Another thing I would like to say is that in the background of this Himalayan tragedy, it is the responsibility of all concerned, media, political parties, people at large to see the positives in all the actions, stand shoulder to shoulder and face the situation bravely.

    The planned manner in which the armed forces have been carrying out the rescue effort is exemplary. The acts of Gujarat Chief Minister, various state governments, Congress party’s sending of relief materials and countless such acts are all very welcome. I want everyone to see this as a joint effort of people of India in facing this tragedy.

  7. Deepak Says:

    One can understand the dilemma of TOI. On one hand, it recognises that Modi may become PM and it wouldn’t be wise to ignore him. So it resorts to PR. But then, TOI’s fear of the Italians leads it to do a balancing act by getting a closet Congressi to do a hatchet job on Modi. This is of course what journalism is all about, as defined by the oldest and leading newspaper of India!!

  8. khara bun Says:

    Enadra maadidare tappu
    mad de edre tappu
    nodi swami naavu irodu hige

  9. nilesh Says:

    This shows that TOI is secular when it come to paid news. It takes from both side.

    Nice business model

  10. Andy Says:

    @Nilesh : Hats off to your superb comment

  11. Prabhakar Says:

    It seems everyone is blinded by Modi-hatred. Lost even basic senses. This way you may stop Modi but will become an illogical idiot. Let us accept that Modi PR team planted this story. Not a single word in news quoting the sources Modi/BJP/Gujarat government. any authentic sources for its information. Same news does not appear in another media. The fact TOI is anti-Modi is very well known. Not a single idiot from media or otherwise approached the reporter and asked about his source of information. But go on ranting like mad dogs for days together.

  12. Anonymous Guy Says:

    TOI is a business. Journalistic ethics dont matter much. To paraphrase our very own Dr. Ramesh: It is a prime example of what happens when you let CORPORATE CZARS take over institutions with no checks and balances.

    If it is in their financial interest, they will print anything and side with anyone, truth be damned.

    What else to expect?

  13. dr ramesh Says:

    Modi shouldn’t have gone to UTTARA KHAND which is reeling under its worst natural calamity, he should have sent a special envoy to oversee rescue work. People will read his visit as POWER GREED DURING A TRAGEDY.
    Publicity has its limits, people who thrive under publicity will perish under it.
    Hats off to Indian army and air force for their self less, daring rescue work. They are the only disaster management agency in the country.
    there is a news that,
    Kasturirangan panel has twisted gadgil report and has given green signal for GUNDYA hydel project in western Ghats, karnataka, expected to submerge 1000 acres of pristine forests, if such mindless destruction of environment continues, nature will find a release point for itself.

  14. Rahul Says:

    RAMBO act of Mr Narender Modi is better than Dumbo act of Mr. Rahul Gandhi. We all know that RAMBO>DUMBO anyday.

  15. Anon Says:

    Be it print, electronic or social media, talk about Modi makes people react. And TOI knows that well. Media persons behave worse than wolves that rush towards a prey, when they see him. Hence, whatever the MSM says about him is all lies including what this article said.

  16. Namo Namah Says:

    What a huge load of trash! Author is utterly biased and with malicious intent. malicious …typical kangressi character…

  17. Miss Squeaky Clean Says:

    It is not Modi who is being exposed out here. It is the paid news media. TOI, now you stand naked in front of our eyes

  18. M Says:

    He came, he saw and he saved. That too 15000 Gujarathis.
    What about the rest of the victims? Given that he wants to become the Prime Minister of the country. Hope, if he were to win, his Government wouldn’t become ‘by Gujarathis, for Gujarathis’.

  19. Crimsonbat Says:

    I would rather have Modi as PM than anybody from the Gandhi family. You are ingenuous if you think the Gandhi family has not salted a fortune away somewhere.

  20. Amith Pallavoor Says:

    I acquiesce with Dr. Ramesh

  21. harkol Says:


    You don’t get it.

    We are a country of crabs. It is ok for all of us to be in a bucket, never getting out. But, it is unacceptable for any one or two crabs to get out.

    Goes against the equity and ‘inclusive’ poverty.

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