Politics revolving Ganga in Uttarakhand | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Politics revolving Ganga in Uttarakhand

The cultural ministry headed by cabinet minister Satpal Maharaj plans to dissolve the Sparsh Ganga Board that was launched by former BJP chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

dehradun Updated: Aug 06, 2017 19:36 IST
Anupam Trivedi 
Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had launched the Sparsh Ganga when he was the chief minister in 2009.
Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had launched the Sparsh Ganga when he was the chief minister in 2009.(HT PHOTO)

DEHRADUN: The Ganga, which is central to Uttarakhand’s identity, is caught in the quagmire of politics. Headed by cabinet minister Satpal Maharaj, the cultural ministry plans to dissolve the Sparsh Ganga Board that was formed by former BJP chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

The move, officials said, is aimed at strengthening Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious programme Namami Gange, which is engaged in similar work like that of the Sparsh Ganga. “Holding awareness programmes separately doesn’t make sense,” culture department director Beena Bhatt told Hindustan Times, confirming the plan of her department.

BJP sources said Nishank and Satpal - both front runners for the chief minister’s chair before being upstaged by Trivendra Singh Rawat - are leaving no chance to make their presence felt in Delhi circles. Nishank is a former RSS pracharak, while Satpal is often seen with the Sangh brass. The timing of the plan raises many questions, especially when there is a chance of reshuffle in the Union Cabinet after Venkaiah Naidu’s election as vice president.

The department’s decision has baffled Nishank. The Haridwar MP said the government must have considered a “reasonable ground” to dissolve the board, and held the previous Congress government responsible for this situation.

“My idea behind the Sparsh Ganga was to sensitise people about cleaning the Ganga. The activities of the Sparsh Ganga came to standstill as the Congress government deliberately didn’t release budget and made the board dormant,” Nishank told Hindustan Times. “I left no stone unturned to make the board active and I think the government must have a reasonable ground to take further action.”

He added if the previous government took interest, the Ganga-related programmes could have reached to another level.

Nishank had launched the Sparsh Ganga when he was the chief minister in 2009. In the following years, the campaign saw some action with Nishank roping in BJP MP Hema Malini as brand ambassador. But the plans went awry after BC Khanduri replaced Nishank a few months before Uttarakhand went to the assembly polls in 2012.

The Congress said it has nothing to do with the Ganga politics. “Why blame us? Nishankji is a seasoned leader and he better knows the politics behind the decision (to dissolve the board),” Congress spokesperson MD Joshi asserted.