Accompanied by senior officials of North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), community leaders and BJP workers, the minister led a cleanliness drive in the area from Turkman Gate to Hauz Qazi on the occasion of Eid-ul-Zuha (Bakrid).

"I have detected a good response in the Walled City to the prime minister's call for cleanliness. The people here are tired of living in the midst of decay and apathy. Over the past two days, I have visited many parts of Old Delhi and motivated the people to come forward and become partners of the civic authorities in keeping their neighborhood clean," Vardhan said.

The minister said the auspicious day of Eid "should be the most appropriate day" for launching a social movement centred around sanitation and health.

"The egalitarian principles associated with this day should be celebrated by people. They should brush aside social positions to pick up the broom and implement the prime minister's vision of 'Swachh Bharat'," Vardhan said.

Crowds followed Vardhan as he walked around the lanes of the Walled City. Starting from Turkman Gate, he went to Haj Manzil, Phatak Teliyan, Shankar Gali, Chaurasi Ghanta, Sitaram Bazar, Kucha Maidass, Lal Darwaza, Gali Sheesh Mahal and Hauz Kazi.

Vardhan inspected public toilets in the area and directed NDMC Municipal Commissioner PK Gupta and his civic engineers to ensure that five of these, which were in a "dilapidated state", are repaired immediately.

He also directed them to build a few more public toilets saying that their present number "was not sufficient". Civic officials and engineers were also asked to expeditiously redress any grievances of the public.

Corporation officials were asked to carry out thorough renovation of the community hall at Phatak Teliyan and add a new floor to the single-storey facility.

He directed that the archways of Phatak Teliyan and Turkman Gate be maintained in a manner "befitting their heritage status" in consultation with the Archaeological Survey of India.

"Two days back, traders in Fatehpuri launched their own initiative to clean up the markets of the Walled City by imposing a code of conduct which includes disciplinary measures against those failing to clean the streets. They did not wait for the civic authorities. This is indeed a model for the rest of the country," Vardhan added.

Congress in Kerala warns Tharoor against praising Modi

tags: Congress, Sashi Tharoor,  Hindutva agenda, BJP, KPCC ,  Swachh Bharat abhiyaan, Narendra Modi

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress in Kerala warned Shashi Tharoor against praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi but the former union minister set the record straight holding that he is a 'proud Congressman' and had not even remotely endorsed the 'Hindutva agenda' of the BJP.

Signalling that disciplinary action would be contemplated against Tharoor if he kept on lauding Modi's initiatives, KPCC Vice President M M Hassan said, "As a first step, we are asking him to stop praising Modi as his stance went totally against the Congress' ideals."

Expressing strong displeasure, KPCC President V M Sudheeran said Tharoor should not be oblivious of the fact that he had been elected on a Congress ticket.

"Tharoor should not forget the fact that it is the Congress that made him a Member of Parliament. He should refrain from speaking against the party line," Sudheeran said at Vatakara in Kozhikode district.

Sudheeran also indicated that, if necessary, disciplinary action would be initiated against Tharoor after consulting other leaders if he kept on eulogising Modi.

Defending himself, Tharoor said his response to Modi's call to support the "Swachh Bharat" campaign would not mean that he even remotely endorsed the BJP's "core Hindutva" agenda and that he continued to be a "proud Congressman".

"I am astonished that anyone would suggest that I am pro- BJP. I have a 30-year paper trail of published writings on my idea of India and my profound belief in India's pluralism," Tharoor, a minister in the previous UPA government and the second term MP from Thiruvananthapuram, said in a Facebook comment.

"Being receptive to specific statements or actions of BJP leaders does not remotely imply acceptance of the party's core Hindutva agenda. The PM pitched his appeal as a non-political one and I received it in that spirit. I am a proud Congressman and a proud Indian. In short, not pro-BJP, just pro-India," the former UN diplomat, said.

Tharoor has responded positively to Modi's invitation to join the ambitious Swachh Bharat campaign but wanted it to be a sustained programme instead of being "tokenism".

Responding to Modi's call, Tharoor had last week said he was honoured to accept the invitation to join the 'Clean India campaign'.

Tharoor, who praised Modi on a couple of occasions earlier, however, added he was not a fan of tokenism and the challenge would be to sustain it beyond a week of 'photo ops'.

Modi has invited nine persons, including Tharoor, to join in the Swachh Bharat campaign on the model of the 'Ice Bucket Challenge'.

Tearing into Tharoor, former state Youth Congress President M Liju said it was surprising that the Congress MP failed to realise the true agenda behind Modi's schemes.

"Tharoor is not a nursery school student. It is difficult to believe that he fails to understand the true agenda and political gimmickry of Modi's programmes," Liju added.

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