Patna: The much-talked about 'Swachata Abhiyan' was "actually first prominently raised" by veteran socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia in the 50s, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Wednesday.
"Swachata, which is being talked about now, was first prominently raised by Ram Manohar Lohia. He was the first leader to stress on cleanliness," Kumar told reporters after garlanding Lohia's statue on his death anniversary.
"He once told Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru that if you (Nehru) build toilets in every village and town, I will stop opposing you," Kumar, who is a disciple of Lohia, said.
The veteran socialist leader used to say that it was "a curse on everybody that women had to go for defecation in the open", the CM said.
Bihar is observing Swachata Abhiyan (cleanliness campaign) in the memory of Lohia, naming it as "Lohia Swacha Bihar", he added.
Lauding the contribution of the socialist leader in the freedom struggle, Kumar said Lohia had promoted socialism after Independence.
"It was Lohia who had for the first time brought a no-confidence motion against the Centre. He had united the entire opposition and brought a no-confidence motion against Nehru government," he said, praising the socialist leader.
The CM said that Lohia's message of "Sapt Kranti" — concept of seven revolutions against the then prevailing injustices — still holds relevance today.
Kumar said Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan had said that Lohia's "Sapt Kranti" and JP's "Total Revolution" were the same.
"This is our principle, ideology on which we try to move forward," he said.
Appealing to the younger generation to uphold the sacrifices made by freedom fighters, Kumar said, "Independence does not mean only the right to vote, rather everybody shall understand the meaning of freedom and work to maintain harmony in the society."