New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said linking 'Swachh Bharat' drive with government or a political party will lead to its failure and took a dig at the critics of his pet scheme, saying those who cannot be a part of it should step aside but not criticise.
The cleanliness drive must become a public movement if it has to succeed, he said, insisting that change was happening and noted that Parliament had never debated the issue since Independence but discussed it in every session after he announced the scheme in his Independence Day speech last year.
Speaking at an India Today event, where he gave away awards to individuals and government and private entities in various categories for their work towards cleanliness drive, Modi invoked Mahatma Gandhi on his birth anniversary today and said we all must come together to fulfil his wish for a clean nation.
"If it is said that this is a government scheme, it will never succeed. The day you say it is Modi's scheme, it has no chance. If you associate it with political parties, the drive will be harmed. This should become a people's movement, a programme of us all.
"This work should be (away from) from controversies... If you can join it, join it, if you cannot then step aside but not criticise," he said.
Opposition parties, including Congress and Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, have taken potshots at the Centre over the "Swachh Bharat' scheme, saying there was no visible improvement on the ground and it was all "showbaazi".