Akhilesh attacks BJP over Ganga Vilas Cruise, says ‘govt running a bar over the holy river’
The attack comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually flagged off the MV Ganga Vilas -- the Ganga river cruise -- from his parliamentary constituency Varanasi.
LUCKNOW Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday attacked the BJP government for “running a bar on the Ganga Vilas Cruise over the holy river Ganga”. The SP chief made the remark in Raebareli while talking to mediapersons at an event held by the party’s Unchahar MLA Manoj Pandey.
The attack comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually flagged off the MV Ganga Vilas -- the Ganga river cruise -- from his parliamentary constituency Varanasi. On being asked about the cruise, Akhilesh said, “This ship isn’t anything new. Such ships have been running for many years. Now, only a few more places have been added to the route. They are just claiming that they have launched it. The BJP excels in fake publicity and lies.”
In the same breath, Akhilesh added, “...and I have heard that there is a bar on the cruise. Imagine... Till now, we had only heard of religious rituals in and around Maa Ganga (the holy river Ganga). Even when people travel by boat on Ganga, they are told about the dos and don’ts. Now, the BJP would be able to confirm if there is a bar on the cruise or not. I can’t tell, I have not boarded the cruise.”
Akhilesh Yadav, who also is the leader of the Opposition in the U.P. Assembly, had attacked the BJP ahead of the flag-off ceremony as well. He had said that the luxury cruise is a complete “wastage of money”. Yadav added that the Narendra Modi government’s sole motive is to earn money by converting religious places into tourist spots. He also accused the incumbent government of wasting funds on such initiatives and said people in the office should instead take action to clear the river in accordance with the Ganga Action Plan. “People visit Varanasi in the last phase of their lives or for spirituality. The BJP is making this arrangement (there) to earn money by promoting tourism,” said Yadav.
Earlier, on Wednesday, Akhilesh questioned the “real motive” of BJP behind the cruise and the ‘tent city’. “Now, will the BJP take away the jobs of boatmen as well? The BJP’s policy of earning money by making religious places tourist places is condemnable. People from all over the world come to experience the spiritual splendour of Kashi, not for luxury. The BJP will no longer be able to cover the darkness of real issues with external glare.”
Notably, the Ganga Vilas cruise covers over 3,200 km across 27 river systems in five Indian states and Bangladesh.