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Garbage 'dumped' for Upadhyay to clean at Swachh Bharat Event

PTI 07 Nov 2014, 8:37:46 AM IST

New Delhi: Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay has found himself in a controversy after photographs emerged that garbage was littered on a sidewalk in posh Lodhi Road locality before he along with former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi cleaned it as part of a Swachh Bharat initiative.

The photographs showed that sanitation workers from civic agency brought garbage on trolley and littered the pavement outside the India Islamic Centre allegedly sometime before Upadhyay, Ilmi and some others cleaned the site with brooms yesterday.

As the photographs of garbage being littered for the event found way to Twitter, Congress and AAP came down heavily on BJP, saying the incident "exposed" the sincerity of the government towards cleanliness and that it showed the party's "double standards".

Facing allround attack, Upadhyay on his part said he was invited by the India Islamic Centre for the event and claimed that he was not aware about garbage being dumped deliberately.

An official of India Islamic Centre said sanitation workers had dumped garbage after realising that there was an event at the site as part of the Swachh Bharat initiative.

Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, reacting sharply, said BJP has been misguiding people on a number of issues and the incident has "exposed" the party.

"We have been talking about the need for cleanliness in Delhi for last eight years. The BJP-ruled MCD has never taken up the issue seriously. The Prime Minister has started talking about it only now. It is only photo-op session, not more than that.

"The BJP has been exposed. You can go to any area and will find all the drains are full and overflowing. The BJP-ruled MCDs are not doing anything to ensure cleanliness," Lovely said.

Ridiculing BJP, AAP leader Ashutosh said the incident reflected lack of seriousness of the much-publicised Swachh Bharat initiative. He also accused the BJP-ruled MCDs of making Delhi a dirty city.

"Is it BJP's cleanliness drive? Narendra Modi's BJP has turned Delhi into a heap of garbage which they have not been able to clean," he said.

When asked, a New Delhi Municipal Corporation official said the sanitation workers who littered the pavement do not belong to the agency though the area falls under it.

Facing flak over the incident, Upadhyay said, "The Swachh Bharat campaign should not be taken up as a means of photo opportunity because there are people with all kinds of mentality in the society. Whosoever has done it has not done the right thing but we should not make it an issue because it is human error."

Ilmi, who has been cosying up to BJP after quitting AAP, said she was not aware about garbage being dumped.

Reacting to the controversy, Sajid Wadud, media advisor to Sirajuddin Qureshi, president of India Islamic Cultural Centre, accepted that garbage was dumped at the event but claimed that the sanitation workers did it on their own.

"It was neither an event of the BJP nor India Islamic Cultural Centre. Sirajuddin Qureshi, president of India Islamic Cultural Centre is one of the nine persons named by Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu for the Delhi Chapter of the Swachh Bharat mission. The event was a symbolic gesture and Satish Upadhyay, Shazia Ilmi and others were our guests for the event," said Wadud.

"It is a fact that garbage was littered at the site of the event. Actually, we have hired a private company for sanitation works in the complex. The sanitation workers after cleaning the area learnt that there was this function, so they thought these dignitaries are coming for cleanliness drive but what would they sweep, so they dumped the garbage," he added.