New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) The BJP Monday accused the UPA government of not implementing its schemes for cleaning the Ganga river and inter-linking of rivers to combat recurrent floods and droughts despite a Supreme Court directive.
The Bharatiya Janata Party's onslaught came barely a week before the Maha Kumbh begins in Allahabad at the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, considered sacred for millions of Hindus.
Addressing a function on the completion of the first phase of Ganga Samagra Abhiyan here, BJP leader L.K. Advani said that the issue of cleanliness of Ganga was not related to a political party.
Giving credit to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Advani said he had initiated steps for cleanliness of the Ganga.
"The first work (for cleanliness of the river) was undertaken by Rajiv Gandhi," he said.
Advani also said he had told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the issue of inter-linking of rivers should be pursued.
"It was not done. Supreme Court also gave its voice that this work should be done," Advani said.
The Supreme Court had, in February last year, directed the central government to constitute a "special committee" for inter-linking of rivers for the benefit of the country.
Referring to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government's plan for inter-linking of major rivers, Advani said it had been drawn up to deal with the recurrent problem of floods and drought in the country.
In his speech, BJP president Nitin Gadkari said that the party will promise cleanliness of the Ganga in its manifesto for the next general election, and a BJP-led government, if elected, will initially allocate Rs.10,000 crore for the purpose.
Gadkari said that availability of water could turn into a big problem in the coming days.
The BJP chief also said the issue of cleaning the Ganga should not be politicised as it was linked to cultural thinking of the country.
The BJP chief also referred to the plight of the Yamuna in Delhi and said he felt "shame" seeing its condition.
He said a BJP government in the capital will take steps for its cleanliness.
BJP leader Uma Bharati said she got support from MPs of various parties and President Pranab Mukherjee in her campaign for a clean Ganga and safety of women.
She said that the campaign to clean Ganga will continue till they were able to drink water from the river in Kanpur, where it was the "dirtiest".
"We will keep doing our work till we are able to drink water from the river there," she said.
A video, anchored by Pratibha Advani on the historical and socio-religious significance of the river, was screened at the event.