Days after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced that she was retiring from electoral politics, her cabinet colleague Uma Bharti too dropped a bombshell on Tuesday stating the same.
Speaking to reporters in Madhya Pradesh, her home state, Union Water Resources Minister Umba Bharti said that she will now focus her attention on Ayodhya issue and Ganga cleaning. “From January 15, 2019, I will go on a Ganga Yatra for one-and-a-half years, after taking permission from BJP national president, Amit Shah. I will spend the time on the banks of the Ganga. I will also work for Ram temple, which is an issue of faith and belief.” She said that there was no need for protests and agitation as ‘the solution will emerge with the consensus of all parties,” Hindustan Times quoted her as saying.
However, the Congress was quick to term it as a sign of nervousness within the BJP about 2019 Lok Sabha polls. MP Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza said that BJP leaders had realised that ‘people are disillusioned with the promises of the BJP government.’ She said that Bharti was simply using ‘lame excuses’ for not contesting elections.
Similar sentiments were expressed by social media users on Twitter. Academician and author Ashok Swain asked, “If BJP is coming back to power in 2019, why are all these rats jumping out of the ship?” Many other users asked to resign from the government if indeed the reason to not contest the next Lok Sabha polls was to focus on religious activities.
In 2015, the National Green Tribunal had slammed Bharti for spending Rs 5,000 crore on Ganga cleaning project without cleaning any parts of the Holy river. It had said, “Would you please tell us that is it correct that more than Rs 5,000 crore has been spent on Ganga in making it worse from bad. We don’t want to know whether you have allotted this quantum of money to the states or have spent it yourself.
“Out of the 2,500 km stretch of the river Ganga, tell us one place, where the condition of the river has improved.”
Last month, Swaraj had dropped a bombshell for the BJP by announcing that she will not contest the next year’s Lok Sabha polls. Speaking to reporters, she had said, “Although this is decided by the party, I have made up my mind to not contest the next year’s Lok Sabha polls. I have conveyed the party leadership my decision.”