Modi wields spade, launches cleanliness drive in Varanasi

Modi wields spade, launches cleanliness drive in Varanasi

Modi wields spade, launches cleanliness drive in Varanasi

Picking up a spade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the 'Swachh Bharat' campaign in his Lok Sabha constituency removing silt deposited along the banks of the River Ganga here and nominated nine persons, including Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, to carry forward the drive in UP.

Winding up a two-day whirlwind tour of his constituency, the first after assuming power, Modi initiated the cleanliness drive at Assi Ghat, the oldest ghat of Varanasi, where he dug vigorously with a spade, removing the silt that had gathered there.

After digging for about 15 minutes, he shared his plans of spreading the cleanliness drive across Uttar Pradesh in general and Varanasi in particular.

"I have come here to exhort the people of Kashi to become active participants in removing filth from the ghats along the Ganges.I have been assured by social organisations here that in one month's time all the ghats will become spotlessly clean.

I expect that the words will translate into deeds", Modi told reporters at the ghat.

The Prime Minister said that like in Delhi, where he had launched the campaign by nominating nine celebrities, he had chosen an equal number of renowned persons in UP to carry forward the drive.

The nine persons named by him included the UP Chief Minister, party MP and Bhojpuri Singer Manoj Tiwari, Sufi singer Kailash Kher, stand-up comedian Raju Srivastava and cricketers Suresh Raina and Mohd Kaif.

The remaining three persons nominated by the PM were – founder and Chancellor of the University for the Blind at Chitrakoot, Swami Rambhadracharya, noted Sanskrit scholar Devi Prasad Dwivedi and writer Manu Sharma, best known for his book – Krishn Ki Atmakatha (autobiography of Lord Krishna).

After leaving Assi Ghat, where he started off with special prayers to the holy river, he visited a nearby ashram set up by the followers of spiritual leader Sri Anandamayi Maa where he garlanded a statue of the 20th century saint and paid a visit to a charitable hospital in the premises.

The Prime Minister later left for Delhi.