Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's proposed fast was not a political gimmick but a "a circus", noted classical dancer and social activist Mallika Sarabhai said on Thursday, and added that she would feed children from slums during the period.
She said in a state where 46 per cent of children were malnourished and 70 per cent of women were anaemic, Modi's act was "a cheap joke" and a mockery of the poor, for whom fasting was not an option but a routine compulsion.
Sarabhai said that by way of protest, she would provide nutritious meals two times a day to 200 malnourished children from the city slums during the three days of Modi's fast (September 17-19).
"Anshan' is a fast unto death for a cause and is political in nature, but what we hear in Gujarat is an upvas which is a fast of individual nature, it is one's salutation to his or her God," the noted dancer told mediapersons.
"Our chief minister is going to spend over Rs 6 crore of taxpayers' money on his upvas, in one of the biggest and expensive halls of the city. What Modi is doing is not a political gimmick but a circus.
"If Modi wants to do something, he should do it for the poorest of the poor who cannot think of a fast because they never get two square meals a day. For them fasting in not an option but a necessity," she said.
About her plan to provide meals to the poor and malnourished children, Sarabhai said, "This is an attempt to draw attention to what is much more important than what the chief minister is trying to do."
Sarabhai also appealed to the people to donate for (continuance of) this initiative.She said she had funds for 200 meals two times a day for the three days.
Modi had announced that he would undertake a three-day fast for "peace, harmony and unity in the state", following the Supreme Court ruling in the Gulburg Society riot case, which is being seen as a relief for him.
To counter this, Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela and Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Arjun Modhvadia on Thursday announced that they will also go on a fast at the same time, but at a different venue.