President Kovind also paid rich tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his birthplace in Gujarat. (File photo)
President Ram Nath Kovind today paid rich tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his birthplace Kirti Mandir in Gujarat's Porbandar, and stressed that cleanliness was a "multi-stakeholder" national movement.
On the occasion of the 148th birth anniversary of the Mahatma, the president declared rural Gujarat open defecation free (ODF) and said "this is the true homage to Gandhiji".
He also launched a solid waste management and rural comprehensive cleanliness programme for 3,300 gram panchayats in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi where elections are due later this year.
Addressing a function at Kirti Mandir, the president said that by becoming open defecation free, Gujarat has paid a "true homage to Gandhiji".
He congratulated Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani for achieving the feat, a government release said. Mr Rupani and state Governor O P Kohli accompanied the president to Porbandar.
"Cleanliness is a multi-stakeholder national movement and not just the responsibility of the sanitation personnel and government departments," the president said.
He said achieving the goals of Swachh Bharat Mission by October 2, 2019, will be an appropriate tribute to the Father of the Nation.