Campaign to bring political dividends in long run

Campaign to bring political dividends in long run

On the face of it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Clean India” campaign to improve public sanitation in rural and urban areas may appear to be devoid of any political objective.

Modi himself emphasised that it should not be liked to politics. “Swachh Bharat mission is beyond politics. It is inspired by patriotism and not politics. I do not make any claim that only this government has done everything. All governments have done something or the other to achieve cleanliness in the country. I greet all of them for this.”

BJP leaders, however, believe that Modi’s “firm commitment” to bring a “visible change” across state capitals and small towns — where chief ministers, ministers, MLAs, school principals, factory workers and residents swept and cleared garbage on Thursday — promises political dividend of a different kind in the long run.

A BJP leader said Modi has chosen sanitation as it finds immediate connection with common citizens and no opposition party could oppose it though it could accuse him of “event management”.

As the BJP leader put it, “The PM wielded the broom symbolically at a place where Mahatma Gandhi once stayed, to launch a unique nationwide campaign that seeks to change Indians’ mindset.”

Party leaders believe that, with Modi and the Prime Minister’s Office set to monitor the progress of the campaign in the next two years, it was bound to gain momentum.

Within three months, Modi saw to it that his ideas to motivate the people became a plan and rolled out on Gandhiji's birth anniversary. In fact, as BJP leaders said, Modi had already set a deadline of one year so that “we should be in a firm position to announce that there is no school in India without separate toilets for boys and girls”.

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