Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: A Stage-managed Cleanliness Operation in Delhi?
It’s a matter of great shame and disgrace that the mega cleanliness drive ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan‘, launched on October 2, 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been facing critical outbursts from the public on account of a shameful act reportedly done by his own party leaders in Delhi. On November 5, BJP Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay and former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi together joined the drive to clean the area outside the India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC), Delhi. It has been reported that the garbage was purposefully dumped on the sidewalks outside the IICC before Upadhyay took a broom to clean the area. He was joined by Ilmi, who had recently left the AAP, in this Clean India mission.
Candid pictures of garbage being thrown in the area had gone viral on the Internet. The pics clearly showed garbage being dumped and spread in some already cleaned areas outside the IICC. Uniformed NDMC workers had dumped the trash a few minutes before the arrival of the guests. Brooms were seen stacked at one side of the road. Around 10-12 persons were also seen joining Upadhyay in this cleaning campaign later.
Embarrassing for BJP
This is indeed a very embarrassing matter for the BJP. However, party members including Upadhyay denied it completely. Upadhyay said that he is not to be blamed for this and accused the organisers of the IICC who did not look into the matter before his arrival on the scene. Upadhyay also said that he had gone to the Islamic Centre as a guest to attend a programme for a few minutes and was not aware of such a staged drama. He said, “We completely condemn the act, cleanliness drive is to be taken up seriously.” He also told news reporters that a person should be involved in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan with a commitment to clean India but not for publicity. The former AAP leader also defended herself by saying that she was there for just 5 minutes. BJP spokesman Sambit Patra also blamed the organisers of the IICC for such a shameful act.
M Wadood Sajid, a media advisor at the Islamic Centre, said that Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was initiated in the Muslim localities as a symbolic gesture aimed at sending a message of Clean India for all, including the Muslim communities, and said proper investigations need to be made regarding this dumping of garbage purposefully.
A photo publicity, says Congress
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal was the first to condemn it saying that the BJP party has committed a fraud on the pretext of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Upadhyay first had the streets littered and then cleaned, he alleged. The Delhi Congress also condemned the act and attacked the BJP by saying that Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has become more of a photo publicity in the social media rather than being a hard-core cleanliness campaign. Delhi Congress chief spokesperson Mukesh Sharma alleged that the BJP Delhi members are responsible for spreading wastes and garbage and then cleaning them up just for the sake of publicity. Rather they should sincerely get involved in the cleanliness campaign instead of restricting themselves to creating photo opportunities.
There is no denying the fact that the garbage was dumped in advance in the area before the cleaning and sweeping programme was to start as the photos appearing in the media show. Now the question is, was it actually done at the behest of BJP men or IICC organisers or by someone else? It is still not clear whether the BJP had actually staged this clean-up act. But it has paved the way for enough damaging criticism by the Opposition parties as well as the general public.
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