Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has said Congress’ Priyanka Gandhi Vadra must acknowledge Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts in cleaning the Ganga, which has made it possible for her to go on her river journey.
Yogi Adityanath said on Tuesday the Congress leader’s Ganga Yatra from Prayagraj to Varanasi proved that the BJP government had accomplished what the four generations of Congress rule could not do.
“It would have been nice had she taken Rahul ji and leaders of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) along on her Ganga Yatra and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Namami Gange project which has made travel across the clean Ganga possible,” Yogi Adityanath said.
The chief minister was speaking to reporters on the completion of his government’s two years in office.
Yogi Adityanath said an estimated 24 crore people took the dip in the clean Ganga during the Kumbh Mela and Priyanka Gandhi’s Ganga Yatra proved the BJP government has been successful in cleaning the Ganga.
Adityanath’s comments on Priyanka Gandhi’s river campaign came a day after the Congress general secretary for eastern Uttar Pradesh sharpened her attack on the Centre and state government asking them to stop blaming Congress for its own failures.
Also read: Priyanka Gandhi says Modi govt’s argument to blame Congress has an expiry date
And on Tuesday, she said that the Yogi Adityanath government’s report card on its performance in the last two years was “fake” and did not reflect the ground reality in Uttar Pradesh.
“I have been meeting every section of society, including farmers and Anganwadi workers. All are in distress. They have got nothing,” Gandhi said. “There is a difference between the reality and what they speak. Yogi’s report card promotion sounds good but there is nothing on the ground,” she said.
Adityanath also spoke on Priyanka Gandhi’s plan to visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple, which has been opposed by a local lawyer in Varanasi on the grounds that she is of Parsi origin.
“I think in our (Hindu) system all can enter a temple. I think temples are a place where even the impure becomes pure. This is not an issue for the government to deliberate on,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders said Priyanka’s three-day Ganga Yatra would expose the Modi government’s “farce” on Ganga cleanliness.
Also read: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra begins Congress’ Uttar Pradesh campaign on Ganga
“They promised a clean Ganga but can the government claim that despite changing a Union minister and spending crores of rupees, the ancient river is actually clean? They stand exposed now even on their ideological commitment,” Congress leader Piyush Mishra said.
The 2,525-kilometre river which flows through Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand is of great political importance as it travels through nearly 160 Lok Sabha constituencies.
While filing his nomination from Varanasi in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Modi, the then prime ministerial candidate of the BJP, had invoked the Ganga saying he had chosen Varanasi on divine intervention.
“Mujhe Ganga ne bulaya hai (The Ganga has beckoned me),” he had said then.
BJP leaders said Priyanka Gandhi is trying to copy Prime Minister Modi by connecting with riverine communities and displaying ‘soft Hindutva’ to counter the BJP in the Hindi heartland.
Also read: Priyanka will make no difference to BJP’s poll prospects, says Yogi
On being voted to power, Modi had set up a separate ministry to fast track the process of cleaning the river considered holy by millions Hindus. He had also launched the ambitious ‘Namami Gange’ or National Mission for Clean Ganga project in June 2014. It was an “integrated conservation mission” with an initial budget outlay of Rs 20,000 crore to “accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of national river Ganga”.
Priyanka Gandhi’s Ganga Yatra, a part of her second visit to the state after being appointed the party’s general secretary, comes less than a month before the Lok Sabha election 2019.
Uttar Pradesh, the politically-crucial state which sends 80 or the most number of lawmakers to Parliament, will vote in all the seven phases from April 11 and till May 19. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.
Mar 19, 2019 15:35 IST