Darul Uloom Deoband Mohtamim (Vice Chancellor) Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind General Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani, Cardinal T Toppo and Cardinal George Alencherry are among the Swacch Bharat ambassadors set to be hosted at Rashtrapati Bhawan later this week.
The function, which is being organised days before the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan completes one year, will see 111 ambassadors of the programme from diverse fields like sports, entertainment, politics and media being hosted for high tea by President Pranab Mukherjee on September 10.
The Swachh Bharat ambassadors are supposed to propagate the message of cleanliness in their respective states. Some of them were nominated directly by the Prime Minister, while others were subsequently added to the list of ambassadors by the Ministry of Urban Development.
Sources in the Urban Development Ministry said that despite the obvious interest the PM took in the scheme, the ambassadors were not very proactive in spreading the message, so the function was being held to the give the scheme a push.
The guest list also includes several important leaders from minority communities. While Nomani is the vice-chancellor of the world’s second largest Islamic seminary, former Rajya Sabha MP Madani heads a faction of one of the most influential socio-religious organisation among Muslims. The two cardinals on the list are among the church officials from the entire world who elect the Pope. Maulana Jalaluddin Umri, who is the Amir of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, is also on the guest list.
While launching the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti last year, PM Modi had nominated nine public figures to spread the message of cleanliness to fulfil Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of Clean India.
The nine people he had nominated were Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, yoga guru Ramdev, MP Shashi Tharoor, industrialist Anil Ambani, actors Kamal Hasan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra and the team of TV serial ‘Tarak Mehta ka Oolta Chashma’.
Among others on the list of invitees at the Rashtrapati Bhawan are Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav, former cricketers Saurav Ganguly, Mohammed Kaif, media bosses Aroon Purie and Ramoji Rao, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, lyricist Prasoon Joshi, author Chetan Bhagat and BJP MP from northeast Delhi Manoj Tiwari.
The two stated components of the mission, which envisaged an investment of Rs 62,009 crore over the five years, are putting an end to open defecation.
As officials claimed that both goals required social interventions, ambassadors were roped in with each state having its own designated set of celebrities to promote the cause.
“The primary goal of the mission was also bringing behavioural change for which brand ambassadors were appointed across the country. However, after the initial enthusiasm, not much was done by the ambassadors to promote the cause. The meeting with the President on the eve of the first anniversary of the mission launch is now seen as a way to remind and enthuse the ambassadors to further the cause with some zeal,” said a source in the Urban Development Ministry.