Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of International Women’s Day attended a conclave of women ‘Sarpanches’ in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Wednesday. He gave away Swachh Shakti 2017 awards to top women achievers. The event was going well and PM Modi addressed the gathering and exhorted them to greater heights of achievement, but then a disruption in the programme happened as a woman sarpanch from Uttar Pradesh tried to meet the prime minister in person, but was stopped by security. The woman was identified as Shalini Rajput and she said that all she wanted to do was inform PM Modi about the difficulties that she faced in carrying out her responsibilities and that the state government was not helping her at all. “I’m a Sarpanch from a village in Gautam Budh Nagar, UP; wanted to apprise PM of difficulties I face, even the state government isn’t helping,” Shalini said later.
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In the conclave, women ‘sarpanches’ from different parts of the country were in attendance which had been jointly organised by the Centre and the Rural Development Department of Gujarat Government. Addressing the event, PM Modi said, “In 2019, we will mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. He always said India lives in the villages.” He added, “Gandhiji also said cleanliness is more important than political freedom. You can imagine the commitment he had towards cleanliness. Today we are honoring Sarpanchs who have contributed immensely to the movement towards a clean India.”
PM on the note of International Women’s Day also said that the women ‘we are honoring today have broken so many myths’ with their activities. They have shown how positive change has begun in rural India. He said “I can see the determination to make a positive difference when I meet these women ‘Sarpanches’. They want to bring a qualitative change.” PM also added, “Female foeticide can’t be allowed to take place. Villages with women Sarpanchs can play a key role and show the way in ending female foeticide.”