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Modi ropes in Akhilesh, Kaif to lead Swachh Bharat in U.P.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday cleans Assi ghat at River Ganga.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday cleans Assi ghat at River Ganga.  

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Akhilesh mum on Modi’s invite for Swachh Bharat campaign

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday took the Swachh Bharat campaign to the Ganga’s ghats and nominated Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav among nine public figures to promote the programme in the State.

Mr. Modi visited the Assi Ghat here, which has been sanitised by the Municipal authorities, at 8.35 a.m. and headed straight to the river bank to offer prayers amid chants of “Har Har Mahadev” from his supporters. After a 15-minute prayer, Mr. Modi picked up a spade and began vigorously digging out silt on the bank as news cameras zoomed in.

Narendra Modi launches Clean Ganga Campaign from Assi Ghat, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Photo: Prashant Nakwe

Later, in addition to Chief Minister Akshilesh Yadav, Mr. Modi nominated cricketers Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, comedian Raju Srivastava, Bhojpuri film star and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Manoj Tiwari, singer Kailash Kher, founder and Chancellor of the University for the Blind at Chitrakoot Swami Rambhadracharya, Sanskrit scholar Devi Prasad Dwivedi and writer Manu Sharma to take forward the campaign in the State.

Akhilesh mum

When he launched the Swachh Bharat campaign on October 2, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had nominated Congress leader Shashi Tharoor among others to take the campaign forward.

Eleven days later, the party had removed him as spokesperson for praising Mr. Modi.

While Suresh Raina, Raju Srivastava and Kailash Kher, nominated on Saturday by Mr Modi to take forward his campaign to clean the Ganga, issued statements welcoming their inclusion in Mr. Modi’s list of nominees, there was no confirmation of acceptance from Chief Minister AkhileshYadav or Mohammad Kaif.

Mr. Kaif had contested the recent Lok Sabha election from Phulpur on a Congress ticket.

By including social organisations in the campaign to clean the banks of the river, Mr. Modi has again put the onus of Ganga rejuvenation — which is a government project — also on civil society.

After he left the Assi ghat, excavator machines were pressed into service to desilt the area.

Local authorities said the exercise would continue along the river bank till it was fully desilted.

Mr. Modi concluded his two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency with a visit to a charitable hospital.

On Friday, the Prime Minister had met prominent citizens for dinner and discussed ideas for improving conditions in the historic city.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 11:02:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/prime-minister-narendra-modi-twoday-varanasi-visit/article6577482.ece

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