People gave vote of no-confidence in him: Cong before Modi's first Varanasi visit since polls

On a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses his first event in Varanasi after the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress Tuesday said the people of his constituency gave a vote of no-confidence in him as he barely managed to edge past his Congress rival after trailing in multiple rounds of counting.
Jairam Ramesh (L)  and PM Modi (R)
Jairam Ramesh (L) and PM Modi (R)

New Delhi | On a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses his first event in Varanasi after the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress Tuesday said the people of his constituency gave a vote of no-confidence in him as he barely managed to edge past his Congress rival after trailing in multiple rounds of counting.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also posed a set of nine questions to the prime minister on issues concerning his constituency and asked why they have not been addressed.

Ramesh asked the PM why river Ganga is "dirtier than before" even after spending Rs 20,000 crore on the Namami Gange project.

He also asked why the nomination papers of 33 candidates were rejected in the Varanasi constituency during Lok Sabha polls.

"The 'one-third' Pradhan Mantri is visiting Varanasi again, a few weeks after he barely eked out a victory after trailing @kashikirai for multiple rounds of counting. It was a vote of no confidence in him by the people of Varanasi. Here are 9 Varanasi-centric Questions that we had asked him during the campaign, and which we want to remind him of today," Ramesh said in a post on X, tagging Ajay Rai, who was the Congress candidate from Varanasi.

"Why has the 'one-third' Pradhan Mantri's flagship Namami Gange project failed so miserably? After spending Rs 20,000 crore, why has the Ganga gotten dirtier," he asked noting that in 2014, Modi promised a cleaner Ganga through his government's flagship Namami Gange programme.

The Ministry of Jal Shakti claims that there has been a marked improvement in the state of the river but, as is often the case with this government, that claim turned out to be "a bold-faced lie", Ramesh alleged.

The "Sankat Mochan Foundation" found that rather than improving, water quality in the Ganga has actually been consistently degrading -- faecal coliform bacteria levels are a staggering one million times "higher than the permissible limit of 500 per 100 millilitres", he noted.

The Central Pollution Control Board also found that water quality does not comply with their standards, he claimed.

"The rot runs so deep in the BJP that their failure to clean our holy river is hardly a surprise. Last year, the Central Pollution Control Board declared the Ganga the most polluted river in India. The 'One third' Pradhan Mantri should clarify: how has he delivered on one of the signature promises he made to the people of the country at the beginning of his tenure as PM," Ramesh asked.

The Congress leader said only seven candidates' nomination papers were accepted for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat in 2024, compared to 26 in 2019 and 42 in 2014, claiming that 33 nominations were rejected on the day PM filed his nomination.

Candidates also faced longer than usual wait times, had their affidavits arbitrarily rejected, and by the end of the process as many as eight of them alleged that the process was " rigged", Ramesh claimed. "Did Mr. Modi attempt to rig the election, knowing that it was going to be tough for him?".

He also asked: why 41 of 47 beds are lying idle in Banaras Hindu University's cardiology department and why did Varanasi Port, inaugurated in 2019 after spending thousands of crore, failed.

"First, Varanasi residents had to suffer the indignity of being "gifted" this project - even though it was funded through their own tax money. Now, they have to suffer the indignity of a non-functional port. As of 2021, the Double Anyay Sarkar has decided to privatise this failure, and to nobody's surprise, Adani Ports was the only bidder.

"Why is the 'one-third' Pradhan Mantri so keen to hand over every single national resource to Adani? Why is there no investigation into the complete failure of this port, and the diversion of funds to it," he asked.

Ramesh also asked why has the prime minister abandoned the Varanasi villages he had "adopted".

"The condition of Mr. Modi's adopted villages tells us a lot about his sense of duty, or lack thereof, towards serving his constituents. Why has the Pradhan Mantri abandoned his "adopted" villages? Is this the true face of "Modi ki guarantee"," he asked.

Ramesh also questioned why is the PM "destroying" Mahatma Gandhi's legacy in Varanasi by taking over the land of Sarwa Sewa Sangh, started by Acharya Vinobha Bhave.

"It was evicted from its iconic campus in August 2023, and the land was taken over by the Indian Railways. Only one corner of the campus, occupied by the Gandhi Vidya Sansthan, remains untouched because it had already been captured by the RSS. Why does the one-third Pradhan Mantri persist in his hypocrisy of praising Gandhiji abroad, while destroying Gandhian institutions at home? Can he openly admit his admiration for Godse over Gandhi," the leader asked.

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