| Road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav greets BJP leader Uma Bharti in Patna on Saturday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, Oct. 6: Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti today said the Centre should have concentrated on cleaning up the Ganga instead of allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail to create jobs for crores.
“Ganga is the symbol of India’s economic and cultural strength. The Prime Minister’s view that FDI in multi-brand retail would create jobs is wrong. Rather, the decision would adversely affect around 20 crore people, including seven crore directly engaged in retail business. But if the Centre passes a statute to clean up the river, it could provide jobs for 40-50 crore people,” she told reporters here.
Bharti added: “Fishermen and farmers depend on the river to support their livelihood. This shows that the river is not only religiously and culturally important but also provides economic strength to people in a vast portion of the country.”
The firebrand BJP leader reached Patna on Friday as part of her Aviral Ganga, Nirmal Ganga campaign and took part in a Ganga aarti in the evening on the banks of the river. She started her campaign from Ganga Sagar in Bengal on September 20. The tour is scheduled to culminate at Gangotri in Uttarakhand on October 28.
Bharti praised the Bihar government’s efforts in cleaning up the river. “I have heard that the state government is working on a scheme to clean the Ganga and that there’s a plan to set up a treatment plant in Patna,” she said. “Barring two or three MPs, all Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members have pledged support to my campaign. I have talked to all political parties and their prominent leaders and MPs. They have pledged support to the campaign for enactment of an effective act to clean up the Ganga,” she added.
The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said a national-level conference would be held on November 20 at Siri Fort auditorium in New Delhi to get experts’ views on how to clean up the Ganga. “It would be attended by scientists and environmentalists from across the country and also from the UK and the US,” she added.
State BJP chief C.P. Th-akur, party national spoke-sperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy and ministers Nand Kishore Yadav, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Janardan Singh Sigriwal, along with hundreds of party workers, took part in Bharti’s campaign.