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Irani wields broom for ABVP show

Pratik Kumar, New Delhi, Jan 09, 2015, DHNS: 7:52 IST
Smriti Irani cleans up a slum locality in north Delhi's Timarpur
Union Human Resource Minister Smriti Irani skipped the ‘drug-free’ part of the ABVP’s campaign and instead chose to wield the broom at an event called “Nasha-Mukt, paryavaran yukt, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Drug-free, environment-inclusive Clean India campaign)” organised by the student body on Thursday.

After the event at a slum in north Delhi’s Timarpur area, she also stopped by the Delhi University Student Union’s (DUSU) office. “Her leading the cleanliness drive has nothing to do with politics,” Delhi state secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Saket Bahuguna, said.

He claimed that the anti-drug aspect of their campaign was taken care by ABVP leaders and DUSU office bearers, who addressed a small gathering of students and locals at Sanjay Basti.

The student outfit had adopted the resolution of “Nasha-Mukt, paryavaran yukt, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan” in its national conference in November 2014.

Immediately after landing at the ABVP event, the Union minister led the group of students into narrow lanes of the slum.

“She should also go and take a look at the mess two blocks away,” a local resident Sita Devi told Deccan Herald, when Irani picked broom and shovel to clean the surroundings of a small temple in the locality.

She told curious onlookers that littering leads to choked drains and unhygienic living conditions. Later, she asked officials to install six dustbins in the locality.

“The entire basti voted for the Aam Aadmi Party last time. This time, we will vote for them again,” said Premlata, another local resident. She said she didn’t know that Irani is a minister in the BJP-led Union government. But she identified her as a former TV star.

During the half-hour cleanliness drive, Irani didn’t make any appeal for votes.
She then went to the DUSU office in the DU’s north campus, barely three kilometres away.

“When she reached, one of the students immediately said, ‘Thank you for scrapping four-year programme, madam,’” recalled the ABVP national secretary. He added that her brief visit to the student union’s office was initially not on her plan.

Delhi University had moved back to the three-year undergraduate degree last year following University Grants Commission order to roll back the controversial four-year undergraduate programme, which was introduced in 2013 despite opposition.

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