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Tharoor takes up Modi's Swachh Bharat challenge: Credits Cong to steer clear of controversy

On 25 October (Saturday) Congress leader and former spokesperson for the party Shashi Tharoor took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Pledge and cleaned garbage accumulated at a beach near Vizhinjam in Kerala. The Congress leader cited Mahatma Gandhi's example and congratulated PM Modi on his initiative to keep the country clean.

In a video on YouTube, the Congress leader started out by saying how his move of accepting PM's nomination and him cleaning the beach should not be seen as a political move. Tharoor in the video said:

 Tharoor takes up Modis Swachh Bharat challenge: Credits Cong to steer clear of controversy

A YouTube screen grab of Shashi Tharoor cleaning a beach near Vizhinjam in Kerala.

"To my mind there is no political significance to this event. I did not see this as a political activity but to me it was part of a national mission. after all it was mahatma gandhi who declared before independence that sanitation was more important than independence."

Tharoor, at the start, said that it was the Jawahar Lal Nehru-led Congress party that gave India its first rural sanitation programme, followed by NDA's Atal Bihar Vajpayee who turned it to a "total sanitation programme."

"The UPA government under PM Manmohan SIngh expanded and eninlarged the programme. and I am grateful to PM Narendra Modi that he has continued the UPA's good work by rebaptising Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and raising it to the forefront of national consciousness."

A few might say that Tharoor's prologue to the video where he goes on to clean the beach with other locals is laced with fear of what might land him in trouble next. By crediting the Congress for initiating the Clean India mission during the time of Nehru, Tharoor is just trying to steer clear of anymore controversies. And who would blame him?

The Congress leader got enough political beating after the Prime Minister nominated him in Clean India Campaign. Recently Tharoor lost his position as the party spokesperson.

But Tharoor does not only clean Vizhanjamm, he suggests expanding the cleanliness drive and requests the central government to allot funds for rural India where "MPs like him" could do more than just clean. Out of his own MP funds, the Congress leader made a donation of setting up of a biogas plant at the ward: Terming the PM's cleanliness drive as a temporary solution, Tharoor said:

"I don't want to see cleanliness as a photo op. I want to see this place remain clean for months and years from now. So out of my MP funds I am donating a one tonne capacity bio gas plant to this ward. That is one tonne a day of garbage and waste that they can process and produce in bio gas. If that happens they will happen a different place to take their garbage to rather than throw it on the beach and spoil beauty."

According to reports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally congratulated Tharoor after the initiative. In a tweet, Modi hailed Tharoor's efforts.

The Prime Minister also retweeted Tharoor's photos of cleaning up the beach.

Shashi Tharoor's video, where the Congress leader is all charming and politically correct, seems like a good PR exercise but the beach does look extremely clean.

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Updated Date: Oct 27, 2014 19:04:40 IST