No one can come between me and Ganga, says sulking Uma

Apparently upset over being stripped of the Ganga Rejuvenation portfolio, Union Minister Uma Bharti on Tuesday said no one could come between her and the Ganga river, and announced that she will begin a padyatra along the holy river’s banks from Gangasagar next month.

Bharti, from whom Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation portfolio was taken and handed over to Nitin Gadkari in Sunday’s cabinet reshuffle, asserted that she had not failed in the job of Ganga cleaning.

She also wondered how Gadkari could get this portfolio if she had failed because she had worked in consultation with him.

“Good that Nitin Gadkariji himself said yesterday (Monday) that we worked together for three years. The Prime Minister had formed an informal Group of Ministers and we used to consult Nitinji very often,” Bharti said.

She said there was no question of failure on her part as she successfully implemented most of the projects of her ministry.

Bharti used a Hindi song to describe her relationship with Ganga, terming it very “personalised”.

“The Hindi film song ‘Mera toh har kadam teri raah me hai, tu kahin bhi rahe tu meri nigah me hai’ sums up my feelings. I have a very personalised relationship with Ganga. No one can come between me and Ganga,” Bharti said in response to a question as to how she feels on being shifted from the Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry.

She said that she still feels that she is still where she was.

“I still feel I am where I was. I am still a cabinet minister. Every minister can give his opinion on any subject during the cabinet meet. I can still very much voice my opinions and suggestions,” she said.

“Ganga abhi bhi mere pass hai. Ganga mujhse alag ho nahi sakti (Ganga is still with me. Ganga cannot be separated from me),” she said.

Bharti said that the 4,000-odd villages and 1,600 gram panchayats along the river’s banks are under her new ministry.

On being asked if she was taken into confidence by the Prime Minister before changing her portfolio, Bharti said: “This is between me and Prime Minister. But be very clear, Ganga has not been taken away from me. On the contrary, it has been given to me in a bigger way. The essence of sanitation department is that Uma Bharti has now reached on the banks of Ganga.”

She said that she had a long-time wish to undertake a padyatra along the banks of the Ganga, and she had conveyed this to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah on various occasions. She said her wish has been fulfilled now.

“I thank the Prime Minister for finally providing me with this opportunity,” she said.

She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi scolded her twice in three years, but for her being overweight and not related to her work.

“He asked me to lose weight,” she said.

Bharti said she will begin a padyatra from Gangasagar in West Bengal in October but hastened to add that it was not an act of defiance.

“I will begin this padyatra to make the people aware about Ganga cleanliness. The government alone cannot clean Ganga. We need to involve people and make them aware of it,” she said.

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