MUMBAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday said his act of washing the feet of sanitation workers in Allahabad recently was not intended for political gains, but an outcome of his 'sanskar' (values).
He was responding to a question by a BJP corporator from Pune in Maharashtra via video link from Delhi, during the party's 'Mera Booth Sabse Mazboot' programme.
During the programme, which the BJP described as the "world's largest video conference", Modi had direct dialogue with BJP workers and volunteers across the country.
"I have been to Kumbh (Mela) in Uttar Pradesh, which was widely appreciated for its cleanliness. Around 22 crore people visited the Kumbh. It led me to think about the efforts put in by the sanitation workers and I decided to express my gratitude towards them by cleaning their feet," Modi said.
He said people dubbing his act as a political gimmick do not know him well.
Modi recalled his house warming ceremony when he became the chief minister of Gujarat for the first time.
"When people from the administration asked me how I want to perform the house warming of my official residence, I had plainly asked them to get someone who works as a class four employee in the government.
They found a Dalit person, and I placed the 'kalash' in his daughter's hands," he said.
"It is part of culture, my sanskar," Modi said.
Modi Sunday took a holy dip at the Sangam in Allahabad and interacted with sanitation workers who ensured cleanliness during the ongoing Kumbh Mela.
He described them as "real karma-yogis" whose contributions are being lauded all over.
Modi also performed the Ganga aarti and conducted 'Charan Vandana' (washing the feet) of select sanitation workers, as a mark of respect to their efforts in ensuring a clean Kumbh.
He presented them 'angvastram' and said he would forever carry the memory of washing the feet of the 'safai karamcharis'.