Prayagraj: After taking a dip at the Sangam and performing Ganga Arti in Prayagraj, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday washed the feet of sanitation workers, to acknowledge their efforts to keep the Kumbh mela grounds clean.

Attending the “Swachh Kumbh Swachh Aabhaar” award function, appreciated the “safai karmacharis” for keeping the mela venue clean.

Soon after, in an unexpected move, PM Modi proceeded to wash and wipe clean the feet of the five awardees.

PM Modi thanked the organisers and workers of the Kumbh mela for “taking care of the cleanliness of the place and “making the religious gathering of 22 crore people possible”.

Addressing the ‘Swachh Kumbh, Swachh Aabhaar’ programme, he said: “Today, I have praised the safaikarmis by washing their feet, that moment will be with me throughout the life. I wish their blessings, their love, your blessings are always with me and I continue to serve you.”

“These safai karamcharis were my brothers and sisters who were waking up early, sleeping late, all to ensure the cleanliness of the area. They did not want any praise but they were doing their jobs without any fuss,” he added.

Outlining the huge effort it took, the Prime Minister said, “Over 20,000 dustbins, 1 lakh toilets… difficult to even imagine how much safai karamcharis have worked”.

Dubbing Prayagraj as a great inspiration for the whole country in terms of cleanliness, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that by the end of this year, India will declare itself free of open defecation.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi, on his visit to Gorakhpur, the prime minister launched the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme transferring the first instalment of Rs 2,000 each to over one crore farmers, as he slammed the opposition alleging they “remember farmers once in 10 years — just before elections”.