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Home minister Rajnath Singh on Monday claimed that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is not just about cleanliness but basically about eradicating social evils like untouchability.

He was speaking at an event organised by Sulabh International where upper castes shared lunch with women who formerly worked as manual scavengers.

“Mahatma Gandhi had started the campaign against untouchability. Our Prime Minister has started the campaign for cleanliness. This is not just a fight against filth but a decisive battle against untouchability too,” he said addressing the meeting, “Untouchability No More”.

This is a unique spin to the prime minister’s pet programme aimed at better sanitation — a scheme where the Finance ministry is alsolooking at changing the funding pattern where states will now be required to foot an equal share of the bill along with the Centre.

Earlier, Singh was fed sweets by the women and he described it as the “most historic” occasion of his life. The frugal lunch of puri and sabzi was accompanied by chanting and blowing of conch shells. Among others present on the occasion was BJP MP Jagdambika Pal and senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi.

The event was organised to commemorate the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, which falls on April 14.

“I had lunch with some women. I have become very emotional because of the way I was treated and garlanded by the women. This was a historical moment for me. Thereshould be no discrimination among people. ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (world is one family) is the key message from India to the world,” he said.

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