Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday named Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav as the first of the ‘navratnas’ to carry forward his cleanliness campaign in the state.
Bringing his ‘Swachh Bharat’ drive to the banks of the Ganga, Modi surprised many by wielding the spade to clean the Assi ghat of stubborn soil mound that annually settles on the river banks after the rainy season.
“I have now brought the cleanliness campaign that I had launched in Delhi to Varanasi. The people of this historic city would now take it forward,” Modi said before proceeding to announce the names of nine persons for the UP leg of his cleanliness mission.
Showing his energy and passion for the ‘clean Ganga and cleaner Varanasi mission’, the prime minister wielded the spade for nearly six minutes, stopping twice to clear his spectacles and mop the sweat off his brow.
Modi’s nomination of the UP CM followed their brief meeting at the Babatpur airport in Varanasi on Friday morning when Yadav flew down with two of his ministers to welcome Modi. The PM had returned the gesture by going soft on the state government throughout his two-day visit.
Apart from Yadav, other famous personalities nominated by the PM include cricketers Mohammad Kaif and Suresh Raina, Chitrakoot University V-C Jagadguru Rambhadracharya, Bhojpuri singer and BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, litterateur Manu Sharma, professor Devi Prasad Dwivedi, comedian Raju Srivastava and singer Kailash Kher.
What this means is that Yadav is now part of Modi’s cleanliness drive and would have to nominate 9 other persons to take it forward.