Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a day-long visit to the ongoing Kumbh Mela, on Sunday addressed the 'Swachh Kumbh, Swachh Aabhaar' programme in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. Speaking at the holy event, the prime minister said the country is moving towards declaring itself open-defecation free before Gandhi Jayanti on 2 October 2019, adding that the 'swacchagrahi' of Prayagraj have come forward as an inspiration for the entire nation.
Congratulating all the sanitary workers for keeping the vast field of Kumbh Mela clean and clear, Modi said "I really appreciate the hard work and contribution of the sanitary workers who were continuously involved in keeping the place clean even being not in notice". Kumbh Mela 2019 has given a very strong definition of cleanliness, Modi added.
Moving on to the cleanliness of River Ganga, the prime minister said, "the amount collected after auctioning the presents that I received in the past 4.5 years as the Prime Minister are being used in the service of Maa Ganga". Modi also stated that serving poor and deprived is the real humanity.
Early in the day, PM Modi took a holy dip in the river Ganges and offered prayers at the Sangam ghat, the holy confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati river. The prime minister wore a robe as he stepped into the water and later changed to a saffron kurta and shawl to perform an aarti at the Triveni Ghat. Modi was accompanied with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at the mela.
"Had the good fortune of taking a holy dip at the #Kumbh. Prayed for the well-being of 130 Crore Indians (sic)," PM Modi tweeted.
As a mark of respect to sanitation workers, Modi was seen washing the feet of a group of 'safai karmacharis' at the 'Swachh Kumbh Swachh Aabhaar' event, organised by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Besides, safai karmacharis, swachhagrahis, police personnel and naviks were also distributed 'Swachh Kumbh Swachh Aabhaar' awards on the occasion.
On honouring the safai karmacharis in Prayagraj, PM Modi wrote, "Moments I’ll cherish for my entire life! Honouring remarkable Safai Karamcharis, who have taken the lead when it comes to realising the dream of a Swachh Bharat! I salute each and every person making a contribution towards a Swachh Bharat".
Moments I’ll cherish for my entire life!
Honouring remarkable Safai Karamcharis, who have taken the lead when it comes to realising the dream of a Swachh Bharat!
I salute each and every person making a contribution towards a Swachh Bharat pic.twitter.com/IsjuCgjlkn— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 24, 2019
The Kumbh Mela draws millions of pilgrims over the course of approximately 48 days to bathe at the Sangam. The Sangam is considered especially holy and Hindus believe bathing there during the Kumbh helps cleanse sins and brings salvation. The world's largest religious gathering began on January 15 on Makar Sankranti and is scheduled to culminate on March 4 - Mahashivratri day.