New Delhi: The Delhi BJP found a unique way to celebrate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 71st birthday — by inaugurating three CNG incinerators for cremations (also known as crematory furnaces) at the national capital’s Nigambodh Ghat.
The inauguration took place Friday morning, with Delhi BJP chief Adesh Kumar Gupta inaugurating the incinerators, along with other party leaders such as Jogi Ram Jain, Rajesh Prajapati and Jagat Narayan Gupta. BJP leader and mayor of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Raja Iqbal Singh, was also present.
The event, however, prompted the Congress to take a dig at the BJP, with the opposition party pointing out that it comes on the back of the large number of deaths that took place in the country in late April-early May during the second Covid wave.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera told ThePrint that crematoriums and burial grounds across the country should now say ‘Thank you Modi ji’.
“After the loss of near and dear ones the nation witnessed this year, crematoria and burial grounds across the country should also have hoardings saying ‘thank you Modiji’. That would be a fitting tribute to Mr Modi’s failed leadership,” Khera told ThePrint.
BJP leaders cagey about the event
The CNG incinerators were initially to be inaugurated by former health minister Harsh Vardhan, but since he gave the event a miss, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Kumar Gupta took on the responsibility.
The state unit had even put out a statement Thursday, which said Harsh Vardhan would inaugurate the furnaces. “On the occasion of popular Shri. Narendra Modi’s birthday, former central minister — Dr. Harsh Vardhan will inaugurate 3 CNG cremation furnaces at Nigambodh Ghat at 10 am on 17 September,” the statement said.
Although Harsh Vardhan gave the event a miss, posters at the venue in Nigambodh Ghat had his photos.
ThePrint reached Harsh Vardhan via telephone for a comment but there was no response till the time of publishing this report.
ThePrint also contacted multiple BJP leaders, to ascertain the rationale for the event, but many refused to comment while others were unaware of the event.
Delhi BJP media in-charge Naveen Kumar Jindal said that across the city, 71 karyakrams (programmes) were taking place to celebrate the 71st birthday of PM Modi, and therefore he was unaware of each event. He said the better person to answer the furnace query would be North Delhi Mayor Raja Iqbal Singh.
ThePrint contacted Singh via telephone and text message but did not receive a response. Gupta was also unavailable to answer calls.
BJP Delhi spokesperson Harish Kumar told ThePrint that the inauguration of the crematory furnaces was planned three to four days earlier but did not divulge any more details.
He, however, added that PM Modi’s birthday was being celebrated as ‘Seva Divas’ by the BJP, as part of which, the party was reaching out to the poor by distributing rations and fruit, and also organising blood donation camps.
“We will not celebrate ‘Seva Divas’ only for one day but this will continue until 7 October as that date signifies 13 years of PM Modi being the CM of Gujarat and seven years as prime minister,” Kumar said.
While local BJP leaders were unavailable to give details about the event, national BJP spokespersons were unaware of the event and refused to comment.
ThePrint spoke to Tajinder Singh Bagga, Sudhanshu Mittal and Gaurav Bhatia, all of whom were unaware of the inauguration of incinerators at Nigambodh Ghat Friday morning.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)