Uma Bharti says PM Modi scolded her twice, not for work but weight | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Uma Bharti says PM Modi scolded her twice, not for work but weight

Union minister who was given a low-profile ministry in Cabinet reshuffle says she will go on a padyatra for Ganga but she is not defying her party.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2017 13:39 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Union Minister for Drinking Water & Sanitation, Uma Bharti addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Union Minister for Drinking Water & Sanitation, Uma Bharti addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI)

Union minister Uma Bharti has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi scolded her when she handled the water resources and Ganga rejuvenation portfolio, but that was for her weight and not her work.

Bharti told reporters on Tuesday Modi scolded her twice in the last three years. “Lekin woh ek hi baat par padi hain ki main bahut moti ho gayi hoon aur mujhe apna weight kam karna hain. Iske alava mujhe aur kisi baat par data nahin pari. (PM scolded me twice in the last three years. But it was only for one thing, that I had gained weight and I had to lose it. Besides this, I was not scolded for anything),” she said.

Bharti, who on Sunday was divested of water resources and Ganga rejuvenation portfolio and given the relatively low profile drinking water and sanitation ministry, announced that she will go on a padyatra (march) for the river from Gangasagar in West Bengal.”

She, however, said that it was not an act of defiance. “It would have been defiance if I had announced the decision to undertake the yatra today… I had announced my plan last year itself….”

Bharti also refuted reports that she was divested of her water resources and Ganga portfolio in Sunday’s Cabinet reshuffle because of non-performance.

The minister said she was herself interested in a portfolio change. “… it was my wish to undertake a yatra along the banks of Ganga. Last year in Prayag when I was the water resources minister I had announced it at a function of the ministry that I will request PM to allow me to undertake a yatra. I also said that I will leave it to the PM to decide if I should undertake the yatra while remaining in the ministry or after leaving it,” she said.

She also denied that the Prime Minister had ever pulled her up.

Bharti insisted that there had been no failure in implementing the Ganga programme.

“I have not failed in the Ganga programme. Yesterday after Gadkari ji took charge he said that he was associated with me in this project for the last three years. So if we failed, how did he get the portfolio? This means we did not fail….,” Bharti said.

In fact, the minister said that when she raised the issue of delay in Ganga mission with the PM, the latter said that it is a difficult task. “The PM has always supported me. I am grateful to the PM for encouraging me and bringing me close to Ganga,” she added.

Bharti’s new ministry pilots the government’s flagship Swachh Bharat program in rural areas. She said that there are 4000 villages on the banks of Ganga that has been made Open Defecation Free (ODF) but cleaning of the river is yet to be completed. She will do it now using funds from the Namami Gange Mission. “Earlier Gadkari was helping me in cleaning Ganga, now I will help him,” she said.

Giving a list of programmes that was implemented under her watch, Bharti said whatever was required in the Ganga programme have been done. “New schemes have been made, cabinet approval sought…. Tenders for projects called. There is nothing that has not been implemented,” she said.

Secondly, the NDA government’s river linking program was also put on the fast track during her tenure. “It was in a file. It came out. Ken Betwa link is almost ready to take off. Other water linking projects are also in various stages of preparation…,” she said.

She also said that under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, 20 projects were completed during her tenure.

Spelling out her priority in the drinking water and sanitation ministry, which is piloting the Swachh Bharat programme in rural areas, Bharti said that public support is required to bring cleanliness.