New Delhi: Wiping out the "curse" of manual scavenging is the "top most priority" of the Centre, BJP President Amit Shah said on Tuesday.
Shah termed as "unfortunate" that no step was taken to convert the cause of sanitation into a mass movement, even "years into independence", in an apparent attack on the Congress.
"The top most priority of the Narendra Modi government is to liberate people from the curse of manual scavenging. It is unfortunate that even after so many years of independence that someone had to take up the cause of sanitation," he said.
The BJP chief was speaking at an event organised by Sulabh International in New Delhi.
Shah credited Modi for turning the campaign against social ills into a mass movement and went on to name flagship initiatives such as Beti Bachao, Namami Gange and Swachh Abhiyan.
Till date, 2502 villages, 67 districts and three states have been made open defecation and manual scavenging free, Shah said, resolving that the "achievement" would be replicated across the country soon.
Shah said had Mahatma Gandhi not toured India after returning from South Africa, he would not have been aware of the ills plaguing the country and it would not have achieved independence.
Shah said Gandhi's aim was not mere independence, but "societal empowerment".
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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2016 19:54:25 IST