There were just a few takers in the city for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s countrywide cleanliness campaign, the biggest ever in India, which he inaugurated on the occasion of Mahatma's Gandhi's birth anniversary in New Delhi on Thursday.
Even as Jalandhar city is considered a BJP citadel where the party has three out of four MLAs and also rules the Jalandhar municipal corporation, party workers’ participation to Modi’s call was near to negligible.
Among party legislators, only forest minister and Jalandhar West MLA Chunni Lal Bhagat attended the function organised by the district administration to administer the oath for dedicating at least 100 hour per year for cleanliness.
At the function, Bhagat arrived 40 minutes late and the entire district administration staff had to wait for him for starting the function.
The minister and his supporters posed for photographs with district administration officials and left the venue immediately.
The party district unit’s programme to start the cleanliness drive from the city railway station also proved to be a damp squib as only a few party workers turned up.
Here too, the party workers merely posed for photographs and left the spot within half an hour.
District BJP chief Subhash Sood denied that party leaders from the city did not respond to Prime Minister’s call.
“As far as I have been told, the forest minister attended the district-level function whereas chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) KD Bhandari and former minister Manoranjan Kalia also participated in the campaign by paying floral tributes on the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. A separate function was also organised in the civic body,” he said.
Though the civic body office appeared cleaner than usual, special arrangements for the launch of the programme were hardly in place.
In a press release, mayor Sunil Jyoti claimed that the municipal corporation has already started the cleanliness drive and launched it a week ahead on September 25.
The drive also failed to gain momentum Congress councillors staged a dharna against the civic body and the BJP leaders present as during the function.
Sources in the BJP district unit attributed the poor response to the launch of the cleanliness drive to a poor co-ordination among leaders belonging to various factions of the party.