Lucknow: Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, on Tuesday, responded to his successor Yogi Adiyanath over the “filth” and “congestion” accusation in Varanasi yesterday, saying, “The BJP spent crores on cleaning the Ganga. But CM Yogi Adityanath knew that the Ganga is dirty. That’s why he didn’t take a dip,” the Samajwadi Party chief was reported saying by media.
A dip in the holy river Ganga in Varanasi during the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project was one of the highlights of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city yesterday. While the Chief Minister accompanied him for the inauguration, he did not accompany the PM him during the dip.
He later tweeted a photograph of the Prime Minister standing waist-deep in the river, saying his prayers. “The architect of New Kashi in the lap of Mother Ganga,” read the caption.
In his address at the inauguration of the ₹ 800 crore yesterday, Yogi Adityanath had targeted political opponents over the “filth and congestion” that have been a blot on the country’s spiritual capital for decades.
“Mahatma Gandhi came to Varanasi and lamented the filth here, the congestion,” he said. “Since then, many have come to power using Gandhi’s name, but realising the dream of Gandhi-ji that Kashi Dham should be a certain way — this is the first time we are seeing it,” said the Chief Minister who is seeking a second term in power in the state elections due next year.
The opposition has claimed that five years of the BJP government has not improved the situation. Even the “Swacchata Abhiyan” launched by the Prime Minister in 2014 soon after coming to power, has failed to keep the city clean, they have alleged.
“The question is, will Mother Ganga ever be clean? Funds flowed out, but the river hasn’t been cleaned,” said the SP leader.
Akhilesh Yadav’s comments on Tuesday were the latest in a series of political attacks between the SP and BJP, two major contenders in the Uttar Pradesh election due to be held early next year.
Earlier, he attacked PM Narendra Modi saying that people spend their final days in Varanasi. Asked about PM Modi’s visit to Varanasi, Akhilesh Yadav told reporters in Etawah, “That [Banaras] is a place to stay. People spend their final days in Banaras.”
Whereas, PM Modi had attacked the SP saying that red (the colour of SP’s cap) signifies danger for UP.