Union Minister Nitin Gadkari Monday said Priyanka Gandhi’s ‘Ganga Yatra’ couldn’t have been possible without the BJP in power at the Centre. Gandhi could not have campaigned the way she did, Gadkari said, had it not been for the efforts put in by his ministry for the construction of the Allahabad-Varanasi inland waterway.
“If I had not made Allahabad-Varanasi waterway, how could she have travelled? She also drank Ganga water, could she have done the same under the UPA govt? By March 2020, river Ganga will be 100 per cent clean,” the Union transport and shipping minister told news agency ANI. Click here for more election news.
Gandhi, who is the Congress’ general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, travelled by a steamer boat from her great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthplace, Allahabad (now renamed Prayagraj), to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency, Varanasi.
Kickstarting the party’s campaign in the politically crucial state from Manaiya Ghat along river Ganga on March 18, she interacted with several people during her three-day tour, which also involved a pit stop at Mirzapur.
The waterway is part of the 5,000 crore National Waterway I, built over a 1,680 km stretch between Varanasi to Haldia by IWAI. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November last year when he received a container vessel for the first time on the NW-I at Varanasi.
Priyanka’s 100-odd km journey did create some ripples for the Congress. But for a party now out of power in the state for over 30 years, reduced to just two MPs and seven MLAs in UP, struggling to get its campaign off the ground, how far these ripples travel is the question. While the Congress claims there is a change after her visit, potential allies like the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have been sceptical.