Now that the Ram temple issue is settled, BJP seems to have shifted its pitch away from Ayodhya to Kashi. It was generally believed that Ayodhya, where the Ram Mandir is coming up that will become the centre-piece of the Uttar Pradesh elections. But for the BJP, it is Varanasi which seems to have taken the centre-stage in these elections.
First, it was Home Minister Amit Shah who visited Varanasi last month to brainstorm with BJP leaders from across the state. Now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is coming to his constituency for two days on December 13-14 for the biggest function in terms of scale held in the state in recent times, apart from the bhoomi pujan of Ram Temple in Ayodhya last year. BJP has further drawn up an elaborate month-long programme in Varanasi.
The PM, all BJP chief ministers and deputy CMs, BJP president JP Nadda, BJP national general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh, all senior BJP leaders and UP’s entire council of ministers will be in Kashi starting December 13 for the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham. PM Modi will arrive in a boat at Lalita Ghat, take water from the Ganga and walk up to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple through the new corridor.
These galaxy of leaders will remain in Varanasi for three days till December 15, during which there will be a two-day seminar of the CM and deputy CMs with the prime minister on “good governance”. All prominent saints of the country have been invited for the December 13 inauguration function. Big programmes will be held in all ‘Jyotirlings’ across the country, while giant LED screens will be put up in 51,000 spots for live telecast of the function.
“The message is clear and will be communicated far and wide – that it is PM Modi and CM Yogi Adityanath who have restored the glory of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple where Lord Shiva resides, making it the most sacred place, which was impossible in tenure of previous governments. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime, historical and unprecedented event and people across the country are happy and taking pride in it,” BJP leader Tarun Chugh said.
A senior BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh explained that it is not so that Ayodhya is not in focus for the party. “The Ram Temple is being spoken about by all our leaders from the stage. The temple will take another two years to come up. But the transformation of Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a reality now and the party plans to showcase it in a big way. The religious sentiment for Kashi Vishwanath among people is big,” the leader said.
Instructions have been issued to BJP workers to make arrangements for live-telecast of the function in every village of UP, to get the message across in the poll-bound state. The cabinet ministers of UP could stay on in Kashi till December 16 when the UP government could hold a cabinet meeting inside the new corridor premises. The BJP will also send ‘Prasad’ of the Kashi temple and a booklet on the new project to over 5 lakh homes in Varanasi.
Chugh said that though the main event is on December 13, BJP workers will take out ‘prabhat pheris’ on ‘Divya Kashi – Bhavya Kashi’ in all the districts across the country on December 8 and 9 while on December 10, 11 and 12, a cleanliness drive will be organised in all temples, ashrams and religious places across the country where all elected representatives of BJP, MLAs, MPs, ministers, chief ministers and deputy CMs will be taking part.
In Varanasi, there will be laser shows and special lighting of all temples, ashrams and important crossroads and roads in Kashi and all boats on the river Ganga will also be adorned with special lights, Chugh said. “The Uttar Pradesh government has made special arrangements to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply in Kashi. On December 17, a conference of mayors will be organised in Varanasi,” Chugh said in Delhi on Tuesday.
On December 23, the PM will again address a seminar in Varanasi to promote natural and organic agriculture where agriculture scientists, progressive farmers and agriculture experts from across the country will participate. On January 12 next year, to mark the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand, a youth conference will be organised by BJP. The month-long programme in Varanasi ends on Makar Sakranti (January 14).
With inputs from News18