L K Advani gives credit to Rajiv Gandhi for Ganga cleaning project
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"The protection of the Ganga is not a political issue. BJP is not raising it for this reason. All parties understand the importance of safeguarding it. Rajiv Gandhi was the first one to start the project for cleaning the Ganga," he said at a party programme organised on saving the river, considered holy by Hindus.
During his Prime Ministership, Gandhi had launched the Ganga Action Plan to clean up the river which had crossed acceptable norms of pollution.
BJP's Hindutva face Uma Bharti has launched a programme spread across several states to save the river.
Advani said the present Congress-led government has not paid any heed to the need for cleaning the Ganga.
"I told this government that they should take up (the issue of) cleaning the Ganga but it was ignored. Now the Supreme Court has issued an elaborate order on the issue and told the amicus curiae that he can even file a contempt case against the government if he deems it necessary," the BJP leader said.
He suggested that it would be better if Bharti calls the amicus curiae (assisting the court) and asks him to move a contempt notice.
Advani said Jawaharlal Nehru too had respect for the Ganga. "Nehru had said in his last will and testament that his ashes should be immersed in the Ganga," he said, emphasising the need for keeping rivers clean which should be a continuous process.
"Like espousing the cause of nationalism, this is also a continous process. They have to be a perpetual part of our programme," he said.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who was also present, said hydro projects on rivers were a major issue. He said he was pained to see rivers like the Ganga and the Yamuna in such a polluted state.
Gadkari announced that if voted to power, BJP would set aside Rs 10,000 crore for cleaning the Ganga.