The Clean India campaign had become a people’s movement and a Swachh Bharat would be realised by 125 crore Indians and not a select group of leaders or officials, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday.
Launched on Gandhi Jayanti in 2014, the Modi government’s ambitious programme aims to make India clean and open defecation free by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, by building individual, community and cluster toilets.
“India faces challenges but that does not mean we run away from them. We will face them and work to overcome them,” Modi said at an event in Delhi to mark the third anniversary of the Swachh Bharat mission.
The campaign, he said, had instilled a positive spirit of competition as was seen the cleanliness rankings.
It had become a people’s movement due to the siddhi, or dedication, of Swachhagrahis, Modi said, playing on the word satyagrahi.
Satyagraha, or “force of truth”, is a term coined by Mahatma Gandhi who called for a non-violent people’s movement to secure India’s freedom from the British.
Calling for people’s participation, the Prime Minister said, the dream of a Swachh Bharat “won’t come true even if 1,000 Mahatma Gandhis, 1 lakh Narendra Modis, all chief ministers and government come together. It will be done by 125 crore Indians”.
Earlier on Monday, Modi paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on their birth anniversaries.
He paid tributes to the two leaders at Raj Ghat and Vijay Ghat, their memorials.
“Bow to beloved Bapu on Gandhi Jayanti. His noble ideals motivate millions across the world,” Modi tweeted.
In another tweet, he hailed Shastri as a source of inspiration for soldiers and farmers alike.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also paid floral tributes to Bapu at Rajghat.