Senior BJP leaders stay away from Uma’s Ganga yatra
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The Ganga Samagra Yatra, organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and led by former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti, is witnessing poor response from Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in Uttar Pradesh.
The party's state as well as central leaders are maintaining a distance from the yatra even as it passes through its longest lap in UP.
The yatra had started from Ganga Sagar in West Bengal on September 20 and entered UP on October 9 after passing through Jharkhand and Bihar. Since then, the yatra has been in UP.
Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi was not present when the yatra reached his constituency of Varanasi on October 9. Only some state leaders were present during the public meeting and other events. Similarly, the former leader in Vidhan Sabha Om Prakash Singh stayed away when the yatra reached his constituency Chunar in Mirzapur district on October 10.
Although BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai and state general secretary (organisation) Rakesh Jain welcomed the yatra in Ballia on October 9, Bajpai has not joined yatra since then. Jain, however, attended one more programme in Kanpur.
On Friday, the yatra is scheduled to reach Bulandshahr, which is the constituency of BJP national secretary Ashok Pradhan. Party sources there said that Pradhan has so far not sent any information on his visit there.
A party leader said, "Most senior leaders still consider Uma an outsider in UP. If the yatra is a success, the credit will go to Uma. Therefore, they are keeping away.''
Bajpai said it was a non-political programme and the party is only making arrangements where required.
In the absence of senior leaders who pull crowds, local district-level leaders are responsible for ensuring a gathering at the yatra's programmes, said a BJP leader. Local leaders of RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad are also taking part in the yatra.
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