Nehru's legacy:Maneka brushes aside Cong criticism of NDA govt

Nehru's legacy:Maneka brushes aside Cong criticism of NDA govt

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi today brushed aside Congress' criticism that the NDA government was trying to appropriate legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru, saying the nation's first Prime Minister belonged to the whole country and not to any political party.

Launching nation-wide 'Bal Swachhata Abhiyan' on Children's Day, Gandhi, the Women and Child Development Minister, however, refused to comment on the controversy over Congress not inviting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nehru's birth anniversary celebration.

"Nehruji belongs to the country and not to any particular political party," she said, adding that she does not have a "comment to make" on Congress' decision not to invite Modi to an event to commemorate 125th birth anniversary of Nehru.

On reports of non-BJP state governments not being enthusiastic enough in launching the Bal Swachhata Abhiyan, she said that it should not be treated as a party programme.

"This is not a party programme, rather a movement. And this movement should not be limited to a day," the Minister said.

The Abhiyan is a part of the nationwide sanitation initiative of 'Swachh Bharat Mission' launched by the Prime Minister on October 2.

Noting that children can play a very important role in achieving a Swachh Bharat, she said they can become ambassadors of cleanliness and motivate others to keep their homes, schools and surroundings clean.

The programme was launched by the Minister at Anganwadi Centre Maidan Garhi area here amid a large number of children and women taking a pledge of maintaining hygiene by adopting healthy habits.

Calling for a "change in mindset", she expressed the hope that the new generation will keep the country clean and healthy.

"Maintaining personal hygiene should be accompanied by a change in mindset as well," Gandhi said.

The Minister also expressed concern over the large number of missing children, saying that she is trying to closely coordinate with the Railway Ministry as most of the victims are trafficked through the rail network.

"My Ministry is treating the issue with the greatest concern and we are also trying to coordinate with the Railway Ministry and NGOs so that trafficking of missing children can be stopped," she said.

On the Bilaspur sterilisation tragedy, she said that such initiatives should be "institution based", largely done in hospitals instead of camp-based drives.
The Minister also released a book on Bal Swachtta Mission.

The nationwide Bal Swachhta Mission will have six themes-- clean anganwadis, clean surroundings, clean self (personal hygiene/child health), clean food, clean drinking water and clean toilets.

During the Bal Swachhta Week from November 14-19, one of the themes would be covered at each Anganwadi Centre in the states.
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