Congress leader Jairam Ramesh Sunday shared a letter on Twitter which, he said, initiated ‘Project Cheetah’ in 2009 and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being a “pathological liar” for criticising previous governments of not making constructive efforts to reintroduce the big cat in India.
Prime Minister Modi on Saturday hit out at the previous governments, saying no constructive efforts were made to reintroduce cheetahs in India after they became extinct from the country seven decades ago.
Modi had made the remarks after releasing three of the eight cheetahs flown in from Namibia into special enclosures in the Kuno National Park (KNP) in the Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh. “This was the letter that launched Project Cheetah in 2009. Our PM is a pathological liar. I couldn’t lay my hands on this letter yesterday because of my preoccupation with the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” Ramesh tweeted.
Along with the tweet he shared the letter he, as then minister for Environment and Forests, had written to M K Ranjitsinh of the Wildlife Trust of India in 2009. In the letter, Ramesh had asked Ranjitsinh to prepare a roadmap for the reintroduction of the Cheetah and include a detailed analysis of different potential sites.
There was no immediate reaction from the BJP on Ramesh’s remarks. In his remarks on Saturday, Modi said, “It is unfortunate that we declared cheetahs extinct in 1952, but for decades no constructive efforts were made to reintroduce them in India. Now, with new strength and vigour, the country has embarked on the project of reviving the population of cheetahs during this ‘amrit kaal’.”
The Congress had called Prime Minister Modi’s release of Cheetahs in a Madhya Pradesh national park a “tamasha,” orchestrated by him as another diversion from pressing national issues and the Bharat Jodo Yatra’. Ramesh had alleged the prime minister “hardly ever acknowledges continuity in governance” and the Cheetah project was the latest example of that.