Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will cut short his election campaign in Karnataka later today and head back to Uttar Pradesh where more than 73 people had died in a dust-storm followed by heavy rains on Wednesday night.
The weather office has predicted more thunderstorms in parts of the country including Uttar Pradesh.
The Chief Minister's Office said he would reach Agra later this evening and visit the most affected areas tomorrow morning. Agra bore the maximum brunt of the dust-storm that was accompanied by heavy rain, killing at least 43 people. Later on Saturday, he will travel to Kanpur.
The Uttar Chief Minister was earlier scheduled to continue campaigning in Karnataka till Saturday noon and leave after addressing two more election meetings.
His decision to stay put had been sharply criticised in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the target of his election speeches, had led the charge, expressing his condolences for the deaths. "I am sorry your CM is needed here in Karnataka. I am sure he will return soon and attend to his work there," he said.
In Lucknow, former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav too had criticised Yogi Adityanath, the monk-politician who is seen as a Hindutva mascot. "People chose Yogi Adityanath to solve the issues of their state, not for politics in Karnataka. If he cannot return even in such circumstances, then he should form a math and stay in Karnataka forever," Mr Yadav had tweeted yesterday.
Hours after the stinging barbs, Yogi Adityanath had tweeted that officials had been ordered to compile an estimate of the damage by Friday evening.
This morning, the Chief Minister's office appeared to suggest on Twitter that the officials and the ministers responsible for the affected districts were doing fine on their own. To a tweet urging Yogi Adityanath to return, the official handle declared that "95.89 per cent" relief assistance had been disbursed within 24 hours.