In a message, he said while people have often heard that cleanliness is next to godliness, "alas, things are often different when it comes to putting this into practice."

He urged everyone to devote at least hundred hours every year or two hours every week towards cleanliness.

"We can't let India remain unclean any longer. On October 2, I myself will set out with a broom and contribute towards this pious task," he said.

He appealed to everyone, particularly political and religious leaders, mayors, sarpanchs and captains of industry to plan and wholeheartedly engage in the task of cleaning homes, work places, villages, cities and surroundings.

"I request your active support and participation in our collective quest to make a Swachh Bharat. On October 2 we are launching Swachh Bharat Mission, a massive mass movement, that seeks to create a clean India.

Cleanliness was very close to Mahatma Gandhi's heart.

"A clean India is the best tribute we can pay to Bapu when we celebrate his 150th birth anniversary in 2019. Mahatma Gandhi devoted his life so that India attains swarajya. Now the time has come to devote ourselves towards 'swachchhata' (cleanliness) of our motherland," he said.

Addressing party workers in Bangalore recently, he had said he will himself go out using the broom and asked people to give two hours every week to him as "alms" to make the drive a success.

The Prime Minister had recently said the pursuit of cleanliness can be an economic activity, contributing to GDP growth, reduction in healthcare costs, and a source of employment.

Government offices even at panchayat level will be involved in a cleanliness drive that started yesterday and will continue till Diwali which falls on October 23.

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