Bharti, who recently rejoined the BJP, was all praise for Gandhi, saying if the government makes any contribution to save Ganga, the credit for it would go to the United Progressive Alliance chairperson.
"Four months ago, I was disturbed to see the state of Ganga river. I had then written a letter to the prime minister and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh. My demand is that Ganga should be declared a national river," Bharti told mediapersons after her meeting with Gandhi.
"I am overwhelmed that Sonia Gandhi has kept the issue of Ganga separate from politics and given me time. She read out portions from a book by Jawaharlal Nehru and told me that her family has faith in Ganga. She has assured me that she will talk to the prime minister and Ramesh regarding my demands, and also ask them to meet me," Bharti said.
Other than declaring Ganga a national river, Bharti also demanded that more and frequent meetings of the Ganga Basin Authority be held to consider the ongoing projects and an expert committee should be formed to look into checking pollution and cleaning of the Ganga.
The BJP leader said though the government had announced formation of the Ganga Basin Authority, nothing much has been done about its constitution after that.
Bharti had earlier written to Gandhi and received a favourable reply from her. This had prompted her to seek an appointment with Gandhi. In her reply, Gandhi had said that Ganga is at the centre of the religous, cultural and historical beliefs of crores of Indians.
"We all are making efforts to preserve the basic character of the Ganga river. The government is seriously considering the points raised by you," Gandhi had said in her reply dated May 31, 2011.
Bharti said if the United Progressive Alliance government works to save the Ganga, it would be a big achievement for it. She appealed that political differences should not come in the way of saving river Ganga.
In reply to another question on the death of Swami Nigamananda, who died after fasting for 68 days to stop quarrying work on banks of the Ganga, Bharti said, "His death is a sacrifice. It is true that the government's attention was drawn to the issue only after his death. However, this is not the time to find faults but to work."