Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Tuesday came under fire for saying people in Bihar, several parts of which are facing floods because of swollen rivers in the state, should feel “fortunate to find the Ganga at their doorsteps”. The former chief minister described the floods as a divine calamity as he took stock of the relief and rescue operations, Hindustan Times reported.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Maner city in Bihar, the RJD leader said “Log kahte then Ganga niche chali gayi hai. Ab aapke ghar aa gayi hai. [People said water from the Ganga had receded. Now, it is in your homes.]”

Yadav’s statement was seemingly a jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Patrty’s scheme that promises to deliver Gangajal (water from the Ganga) through the postal system. He also described how difficult it was to get the river’s water in it’s natural form. “Who gets pure Gangajal these days?” he asked.

More than 12 teams of the National Disaster Response Force and the state Disaster Response Force have been deployed in the flood-hit districts of the state. At least 19 people have died, and officials have estimated that the damage to crops amounts to crores of rupees.

Earlier, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had urged the Centre to launch a silt management policy for the river, as part of efforts to tackle thefloods in the state.