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After BJP, SP also looks to garner votes on Ganga

Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow, May 5, 2013, DHNS: 1:57 IST

Water politics

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has set its eyes on the holy river of Ganga with an eye to reap rich electoral dividends in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections next year, appears to have another claimant for it.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) is all set to give it tough competition on the issue. The SP has declared that it will make “pollution in the Ganga” an electoral issue in next year's general election.

It is for the first time that the SP has decided to take up the issue of Ganga pollution. The party organised a “Ganga Bachao Abhiyan” (a campaign to save the river) at the “Assi Ghat” on Saturday.

Senior SP leader Rewati Raman Singh, who led the campaign, declared that his party would make the plight of the holy river an electoral issue in the forthcoming elections. "The Congress and BJP have ignored the plight of the Ganga... They have done nothing to clean the river,” said Singh, an MP from the 'Sangam' city of Allahabad.

Baba blessings

Singh was given a boost when Baba Nagnath, who has been on a fast for the past five years demanding concrete measures to make the Ganga pollution-free, also reached the venue of the meeting and gave his blessings.

“The BJP does not have a patent on the Ganga... The river is revered by all Hindus and is important to everyone,” said another senior SP leader.

Led by former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti, the BJP recently launched a “Ganga Samagra Yatra”, a campaign to highlight the plight of the highly polluted river and create awareness among the people as well as reiterate the party's commitment to it.
The campaign began from Gangasagar in West Bengal and reached Gangotri (the origin of Ganga) in Uttarakhand after passing through the states of Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

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