No politics, only Swachh Bharat, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday
launched the “Swachh Bharat” campaign in Delhi. Aimed at making India clean by
2019, and symbolically kicked off on Gandhi Jayanti, Modi urged all citizens to
be a part of the campaign that he termed “beyond politics” and “patriotic”.
Aiming to turn “Swachh Bharat” into a national
programme and freeing it from bureaucratic red tape, Modi invited people from
various walks of life to be part of the campaign. He initiated a chain, on the
lines of the ALS ice bucket challenge, inviting nine personalities through
social media to take up the challenge to clean India.
“I have invited Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Baba
Ramdev, Shashi Tharoor, Kamal Haasan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Sachin
Tendulkar, Anil Ambani and the entire team of Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma. I
expect them to further extend invitations to nine more,” he said. “Social media
will bring about a revolution in this cleanliness drive,” Modi said.
Modi’s day began with a visit to Rajghat in the
morning before a pre-planned visit to Valmiki Sadan, where he inaugurated a
bio-digester toilet. En route, the PM stopped over at the Mandir Marg police
station for an unscheduled check. On finding a part of the police station area
littered, Modi picked up a broom and swept it, even as police officers rushed
to join him.
Addressing a mixed crowd comprising government school
students, BJP leaders and workers, and government employees at Rajpath, he
said, “I said as much from the ramparts of Red Fort then and I will say it
Every government before us worked for such an ideal.
Under Gandhiji, the Congress ran a similar campaign. And I would like to greet
all government agencies who have worked to keep India clean, whether they are
from Sarvodaya or from Seva Dal. I believe cultural, religious and political
leaders have done their bit to keep the country clean.”
In his half-an-hour speech, he said, “We are
celebrating the birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri too. It’s because of
his slogan, ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’, that there was abundance of foodgrain in
the country. I ask all of you to devote at least 100 hours of your time every
year to achieve the goal of a clean India.”
Before administering the clean India pledge to those
present on the lawns of India Gate, the PM said, “I would like to ask all of
you whether safai karmacharis are solely responsible for keeping the country
clean. Take this task as a service to Mother India. We should know we are doing
a disservice to nation when we litter. I know the task to make India clean by
2019 is a tough one.
But, with support from all of you, we know we will be
able to achieve it. People, after touring countries abroad, praise them for
their cleanliness. I ask, have you seen their citizens littering? It is clean
because everyone participates in keeping it clean.”
The PM also quoted a few statistics from WHO to
support the campaign. “According to the WHO report, poor sanitation costs every
Indian Rs 6,500 per year. Don’t trust me or my government but trust Mahatma
Gandhi’s dream for a clean India,” he said.