In a surprising twist of fate, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finds itself in the midst of a political storm as Nagpur, one of its strongholds, grapples with catastrophic floods following relentless rains. Previously, the BJP had targeted the undivided Shiv Sena over Mumbai’s monsoon waterlogging issues, but now the tables have turned.
Over the weekend, Nagpur witnessed an astonishing 119 mm of rainfall within 24 hours, significantly surpassing the average of 45 mm. An astounding 90 mm of rain poured down in just two hours between 2:15 am and 4:30 am. This unprecedented rainfall, unusual for the rain shadow region, led to the Ambazari Lake, the city’s largest water body, and the Nag River, from which the city derives its name, breaching their boundaries. The resultant deluge inundated the city and tragically claimed the lives of four people.
Nagpur holds particular significance as it serves as the headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological mentor. The remarkable rain and the ensuing floods have provided ammunition for the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) to criticize Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who represents the Nagpur South West assembly constituency. It’s noteworthy that the BJP had controlled the Nagpur Municipal Corporation from 2012 until 2022 when their second term ended. Nagpur is one of the 24 corporations in Maharashtra whose terms have expired in the last three years and are still awaiting elections.
In an editorial in the Shiv Sena (UBT) mouthpiece Saamana, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut stated, “Devendra Fadnavis calls himself the ‘suputra’ (son) of Nagpur. In barely four hours of rain, Nagpur was drowned. His lies of development were exposed. The mask came off the face of self-appointed contractors of Nagpur. Will he and his parivaar now do some introspection?”
Fadnavis, who faced significant criticism when he visited the city on Sunday, admitted that although the rainfall was heavy and unprecedented, the damage could have been mitigated.
Continuous rainfall and a cloudburst have led to flooding in several low-lying areas of Maharashtra’s Nagpur, prompting Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to instruct the district administration and police to offer assistance to those affected. At least 140 people have been relocated from inundated areas to safer locations. The state government has declared a holiday for all schools and colleges in Nagpur due to the ongoing situation.
The overflowing Ambazari Lake and Nag River have caused water to inundate residential and commercial areas across various parts of the city. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed to rescue stranded individuals from low-lying areas.
According to information shared by the district administration, heavy rainfall continued well into Friday night. By 2 am on Saturday, residents around Nagpur noticed a rapid rise in water levels. The Ambazari lake, the city’s largest, overflowed into streets and nearby neighborhoods. The overflowing Nag River also led to waterlogging in its vicinity. The tracks at Nagpur railway station were submerged, causing significant inconvenience to passengers. In the commercial center of Burdi, overnight showers resulted in water entering narrow alleyways and shops.
This alarming situation in Nagpur comes shortly after the city experienced severe flooding following torrential rains last week. With an orange alert issued for Ratnagiri and a yellow alert for Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, and Palghar for September 28, it appears that Maharashtra is grappling with a tumultuous monsoon season. As the state faces these challenges, residents and authorities are working tirelessly to cope with the aftermath of nature’s fury.