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06 Sep 2017

Is Uma Bharti protesting her demotion with a padyatra?

Uma Bharti's padyatra to protest her demotion

Uma Bharti, who was shunted out of the water resources and Ganga rejuvenation portfolio, will be taking a padyatra along the Ganga next month.

Her portfolio has been given to Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari; he will be holding this ministry as an additional charge.

Bharti, who had earlier resigned on health grounds, will now hold the drinking water and sanitation portfolio.

In context

Uma Bharti's padyatra to protest her demotion
What does Uma Bharti have to say?

Uma Bharti

What does Uma Bharti have to say?

Uma Bharti insisted that the Ganga padyatra is "not an act of defiance" and clarified that these plans were made last year.

She asserted that she herself wanted a portfolio change and denied that she had been moved from the ministry due to her inability to perform.

She claimed that PM Modi had only pulled her up twice and that too for gaining weight.


What did the RSS have to do with it?

An HT report suggests that Bharti survived the cabinet reshuffle due to RSS' intervention.

When former UP CM Kalyan Singh left the BJP, he took 'Lodha community' votes with him which affected the party in 2012 Assembly elections.

To avoid a similar situation with Bharti, who enjoys mass support among the backward community, RSS struck down the BJP's decision of sacking Bharti due to non-performance.

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How did she fare at the Ministry of Water Resources?

Report Card

How did she fare at the Ministry of Water Resources?

During Bharti's stint, the government's river-linking project was accelerated, with the Ken-Betwa river linking ready to begin.

Bharti made some quick progress in completing various projects under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme.

However, the National Mission on Clean Ganga (NMCG) gained some momentum only in the last 10 months, after the PMO directly began dealing with the NMCG and reduced her ministry's role.


What can Gadkari look forward to?

Nitin Gadkari will have to work towards providing a well-defined plan to go about the task of cleaning Ganga.

Gadkari might also want to fast-track the Ganga Act that would ensure cleanliness and uninterrupted water flow. The draft Act provided by a Justice (Retd.) Girdhar Malviya-headed committee had proposed stringent measures.

He might also focus on setting up a multidisciplinary National Water Commission.

What will Bharti's role be at her new Ministry?

Future role

What will Bharti's role be at her new Ministry?

The drinking water and sanitation ministry has mainly been the focus of Modi's Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).

The ministry's main job would concern around ensuring that states implement the mission and meet their targets.

By October 2019, the mission's aim is to have a 100% clean and open defecation-free India.

With the padyatra and the ministry, Bharti's hands will be full.

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