'PM knew to wield broom'

Modi pays surprise visit at Mandir Marg police station

While heading towards Valmiki Sadan on Thursday morning to launch the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a “surprise” visit at Mandir Marg police station where he went on to wield a broom.

Police officers said they were taken aback by his sudden appearance and some of them rushed to assist him when they noticed him picking up a broom.

Police said there were less than a dozen policemen present at that time as most of them had been deputed to handle the PM’s arrival nearby for the official launch of the cleanliness campaign.

Some sanitation workers who claimed to have witnessed Modi visit said he remained at the station  for 10-15 minutes. But a police officer said the PM carried on with the sweeping for 20 long minutes.

“Modi’s wielding of the broom was not ceremonial in nature and was different from the set pattern followed by other leaders,” a police officer, who did not wish to be identified, told Deccan Herald.

The sanitation workers not only agreed with the officer’s opinion, they also said Modi knew how to use the broom.

“Unlike other leaders who sweep the wrong way, Modi knew how to hold the long handle of the broom and clean the entire area,” a sweeper, Vijay,  said.

Another sweeper Ravi noted that the PM was unperturbed by the dust blown about by the broom. 

“He has grown up sweeping and doing other humble jobs. He knows how to avoid dust without having to hold his nose,” Ravi said.

Many sanitation workers and some other staff at the police station said they had anticipated that the PM could drop by there.

“We were not surprised by his visit. He was to visit the Valmiki Sadan nearby so we were prepared for his visit,” said a sanitation in-charge at the police station. 

The garbage swept away by Modi generally stayed hidden because of vehicles parked there, he said.

Chatradhar Yadav, a truck driver employed by NDMC, claimed to be aware that Modi would visit the police station. He said he visits the station often to transport garbage from there and wanted to be there when the PM came.

“I was elsewhere in the morning and tried to hurry up the work there. But the workers were not quick in loading my truck because of which I could not see Modi,” said Yadav.But all police officers Deccan Herald spoke to claimed they were surprised. The PM had chosen to suddenly stop his cavalcade and “casually” walk into the police station from the second gate that leads to the Economic Offences Wing housed in the same compound.

A police constable said Modi’s cleaning exercise was limited to the open areas of the police station complex and he did not enter the buildings.

Some inner portions of the police station building appeared to have been left uncleaned for a long time even as NDMC officials, after the visit, went about clearing garbage from the rear of the station.

“This is the impact of Modi’s visit. Why else would you see two trucks and so many workers employed at once,” said Suresh Kumar, an assistant sanitary inspector with NDMC who was overseeing the cleaning work later in the day.

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