The Congress on Friday, October 12, attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "neglecting" the repeated pleas of environmentalist GD Agarwal, who died a day earlier while fighting for a cleaner Ganga river.
Agarwal died after a heart attack in Rishikesh on Thursday, October 11. The 86-year-old former IIT-Kanpur Professor was on a hunger strike since June 22 for a pollution-free Ganga and an uninterrupted flow of water in the river.
In his condolence message, Congress President Rahul Gandhi vowed to take forward Agarwal's fight.
"He ended his life to save the Ganga. Saving the Ganga in a true sense will be saving the country. We will never forget him. We will take his fight forward," Gandhi said on Twitter.
The Congress also took pot-shots at Modi, accusing him of only paying "lip service" in the name of cleaning the river.
"All the schemes related to cleaning the river are on a death bed while the fraud through tall promises continue," the Congress said on its official Twitter handle.
"With an atrocious completion rate, Prime Minister Modi has focused on lip service rather than getting anything done on cleaning the Ganga," the party said, accusing Modi of "defrauding mother Ganges".
Reminding Modi about the letters written to him by Agarwal, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi accused Modi of neglecting the environmentalist's fight for the cause.
"Continuously writing letters to Modi, Professor Agarwal finally laid down his life for the Ganga. Year 2012 was really good when Modi would be concerned about Agarwal's health," tweeted Singhvi while posting a 2012 tweet by Modi wherein he had prayed for Agarwal's good health and demanded the then Congress-led Central government to take concrete action to save the Ganga.
In his third and final letter to Modi on August 17, 2018, Agarwal, popularly known as Swami Sanand had expressed his disappointment over Modi government's failure to rejuvenate the river considered sacred by crores of Hindus.
"It was my expectation that you will go two steps forward and make special efforts for the sake of Gangaji because you went ahead and created a separate Ministry for all works relating to Gangaji.
"But in the past four years, all actions undertaken by your government have not at all been gainful to Gangaji and in her place gains are to be seen only for the corporate sector and several business houses," Agarwal had written in the letter.