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India's Modi Wields Broom in Drive to Clean Up Filthy Cities

 / Updated 
Image: A girl walks on a railway track past piles of dumped garbage in Mumbai, India
A girl walks on a railway track past piles of dumped garbage in Mumbai, India, on Oct. 2, 2014. Millions of schoolchildren, officials and ordinary people picked up brooms and dustpans Thursday to join a countrywide campaign to clean parks, public buildings and streets.Rafiq Maqbool / AP

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took up a broom to sweep the streets of an impoverished neighborhood of Delhi on Thursday, launching a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of cleanliness and better sanitation.

"Don't we all have a duty to clean the country?" Modi asked. To drive home his point he ordered government workers including his ministers to sweep offices and clean toilets on Thursday, a national holiday. Since taking office, Modi has repeatedly lamented the poor state of sanitation and public cleanliness in India, citing "the filthiness all around us" as an obstacle in promoting tourism.

Image: Indian Prime Minister launches cleanleness drive
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, joins workers cleaning a road in New Delhi, October 2, 2014. Modi launched a campaign named 'Swachh Bharat' or 'Clean India' to promote cleanliness and better sanitation in the country.Indian Press Information Bureau via EPA
- David Arnott

Reuters contributed to this report

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