The BJP’s iron collection programme for its Statue of Unity project has failed to meet deadline in the state’s 28 districts, owing mainly to “dereliction of party workers who were assigned the responsibility of collecting at least one kg of iron from each gram panchayat”.
The programme, launched by party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to build a 182-metre tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on an island along the Narmada river in Gujarat, began in UP on January 7 with February 10 being the deadline for six BJP regions comprising 68 districts and February 20 for two others regions comprising 22 districts.
Based on the figures so far, the iron was collected from only 268 villages of all 528 gram panchayats. No iron was collected from 172 villages in Jhansi and 235 villages in Rae Bareli.
Likewise, BJP workers also did not collect iron from 284 villages in Allahabad, followed by Jaunpur (264), Unnao (188), Lakhimpur Kheri (180), Pratapgarh (194), Bulandshahr (164), Sitapur (129), Moradabad (113), Rampur (80) and Meerut (59).
Meerut is BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai’s home district. Among others, iron-collection drive was not carried out in 90 villages of Varanasi, senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi’s constituency, and in 49 villages of Pilibhit – party national general secretary Varun Gandhi’s constituency. The party has also left out 80 villages in Etawah.
State convener of iron collection coordination committee in UP, Om Prakash Singh said, “Iron was not collected because of laxity of workers.” He added that adequate efforts were not made to draw the support from people.
Singh, however, termed response from Farrukhabad, Kannuaj, Badaun, Faizabad, Mirzapur, Amethi, Sultanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Ghaziabad and Baghpat as satisfactory.
Citizen for Accountable Governance (CAG), a non-profit organisation, has been assigned the responsibility to deliver the collection kits (comprising the iron collected under the drive).
Singh said that Narendra Modi will flag off the vehicles loaded with these kits for Gujarat during his Lucknow rally on March 2.