NEW DELHI: With assembly polls due in three heartland states — Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh — in three consecutive years beginning 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants people’s representatives from the BJP to take the Ganga route to win the hearts of the people.On the lines of the public outreach of Union council of ministers to Jammu and Kashmir, the PM has recommended preparation of roster for night stays in villages along the holy river by Union ministers, chief ministers and elected representatives. Also on the agenda is rath yatras to encourage people’s participation.
The PM talked about the matter at the National Ganga Council (NGC) meet held in Kanpur last month. He recommended organising rath yatras and padyatras and including topics such as river rejuvenation and water conservation in school/college curriculum.
“The 2,500-km stretch of Ganga may be suitably divided and the Union ministers may be requested to visit a particular stretch, stay in villages, participate in cleanliness drive, undertake educational and public outreach programmes and motivate the public at large. State ministers, MPs, MLAs, eminent local persons may also be invited to join and contribute towards Ganga rejuvenation. Chief Ministers may also independently decide to stay on the banks of Ganga for few days,” said Modi, according to minutes of the meeting accessed by this newspaper.
The Niti Aayog has been tasked to develop a framework to all Ganga districts focus areas for monitoring various developments under the Namami Gange Programme on the lines of the Aspirational Districts Progarmme. A competitive ranking framework will also be developed to evaluate the performance of the Ganga river districts, towns and villages.
According to sources, the idea is to reach out to maximum people who live on the banks of the river and sending a message that the country cared for them. Bihar, West Bengal and UP are electorally key states for the BJP. The Union water resources ministry will also reach out to two non-BJP ruled Ganga states — West Bengal and Jharkhand — to carry forward the work. Union Jal Shakti Ministry has been asked to set up a digital dash board for effective and real time monitoring of work done for Ganga cleaning. “Special campaigns be undertaken in Ganga villages through interventions of different ministries and departments. This will, in turn, motivate the villagers to be more responsible towards Ganga and its conservation,” read the minutes.