Narendra Modi wields broom, launches Clean India campaign

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi symbolically wielded the broom Thursday to launch a nationwide campaign that aims to clean up India in five years.

Modi chose the Valmiki Colony in the heart of Delhi -- a place once home to Mahatma Gandhi -- to do the sweeping in a small area for just about one minute. Oct 2 marks Gandhi's birth anniversary.

He also spent some time in the Valmiki temple there.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) sweeps a street in a residential colony in New Delhi on October 2, 2014. Modi wielded a broom in a New Delhi slum colony on October 2 as he launched an ambitious campaign to clean India on Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary. Modi's pet Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (or Clean India Campaign) aims to spread public awareness about links between issues like public health, cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation. Pic/ AFP

The prime minister interacted with some residents who work as municipal cleaners before picking up the broom. He then used a dust pan to put the small pile of dirt into the dustbin.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi and party's Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyay were with Modi at Valmiki Colony along with some other party colleagues and officials.

Modi began the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan from the area to invoke the ideals of Gandhi who stayed there for 214 days - between April 1946 and September 1947.

Modi has said the campaign should clean up the country by 2019, the 150th anniversary of Gandhi.

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