NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi symbolically wielded the broom Thursday to launch a nationwide campaign that aims to clean up India in five years.
Modi chose the Valmiki Colony in the heart of Delhi -- a place once home to Mahatma Gandhi -- to do the sweeping in a small area for just about one minute. Oct 2 marks Gandhi's birth anniversary.
He also spent some time in the Valmiki temple there.
Read: The Cleanliness Pledge
The prime minister interacted with some residents who work as municipal cleaners before picking up the broom. He then used a dust pan to put the small pile of dirt into the dustbin.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi and party's Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyay were with Modi at Valmiki Colony along with some other party colleagues and officials.
Modi began the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan from the area to invoke the ideals of Gandhi who stayed there for 214 days - between April 1946 and September 1947.
Modi has said the campaign should clean up the country by 2019, the 150th anniversary of Gandhi.
India Can Become a Clean India: Modi
Indians need to change their mindset and join hands to clean up India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday.
But cleaning up the country cannot be the sole responsibility of sweepers. "Do citizens have no role in this? We have to change this mindset," Modi said after launching the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
"India can do it, the people of India can do it," he said, addressing a gathering near the India Gate monument.
WATCH: PM Launches Swacch Bharat Mission
If Indians can reach Mars, they certainly can clean up the country, the prime minister added to clapping.
"It takes time to change established mindset. It is a difficult task. But we have five years," he said, referring to his stated goal of having a Clean India by 2019, Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary.
"This is not about Modi... Modi is only one of its 1.2 billion people... This is a people's task."
Modi Pays Surprise Visit to Police Station
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday paid a surprise visit to the Mandir Marg police station in central Delhi to check how clean it was.
On his way to the Valmiki Colony to launch his Clean India campaign, Modi suddenly stopped his car and walked into the police station, a police officer who witnessed it all said.
The inspection was not planned and took the officials accompanying Modi by surprise.
The prime minister spent a few minutes at the police station checking the sanitation and other facilities.
Take Clean India Campaign to Social Media: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday urged people to upload pictures and videos of dirty places -- and how they get cleaned up -- on the social media.
Addressing a gathering on the start of his Clean India campaign, Modi called upon people to use MyGov, a mobile application, as well as Facebook and Twitter to promote the nationwide campaign.
Salman, Tendulkar to Spread Clean India Message
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday nominated actors Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and industrialist Anil Ambani among nine people to spread the message of Clean India.
Modi has said the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan he launched earlier in the day should clean up the country by 2019, the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
At a gathering here, Modi asked them to nominate more people for the task.
"I have invited nine people and asked them to come to public places and work towards a clean India," Modi said.
The others in the group of nine are Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, yoga guru Baba Ramdev, actor-producer Kamal Haasan and the team of television serial Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah.
"These nine people can nominate nine more people, and they can clean and upload videos," said the prime minister.