Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav — targeted by his successor Yogi Adiyanath over the “filth” and “congestion” in Varanasi yesterday — has responded with a barb just as sharp. “Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is very well aware of the fact that none of the rivers are clean hence he decided not to take a dip in Maa Ganga,” the Samajwadi Party chief was quoted as saying by news agency ANI today.
A dip in the 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.