The Uttar Pradesh government has planned to turn the proposed inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor by prime Minister Narendra Modi next month into a mega event by holding a month-long programme. It plans to invite thousands of prominent Hindu seers from across the country, heads of prominent temples, travel writers, panchayat presidents, Dalit intellectuals, historians and others for the event.
A meeting of the chief ministers of the BJP-ruled states would be held at the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor Complex a day after the inauguration by Modi on December 13. The prime minister is likely to spend three days in the city and attend several events during his visit.
The state government would also hold a cabinet meeting at the complex on December 16. Over 200 Mayors of cities in the country would also hold a meeting there.
The event assumes added significance as it comes barely two months before the state goes to polls.
According to local officials, the invitation letter was being prepared and would soon be sent to likely invitees. "The objective is to enable the seers to see the grandeur of the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (Lord Shiva Temples), and changing face of the ancient city of Varanasi," said an official in Varanasi, which is also the Modi's Lok Sabha constituency.
Sources said that the BJP planned to distribute booklets containing the story of how the Kashi Vishwanath Temple was renovated among several households. ''We want to tell the people what our government has done to glorify one of the most revered places in the world for Hindus,'' said a BJP leader while speaking to DH.
Although the leader denied that it was an attempt to gain electoral mileage out of the project, the opposition leaders said that turning a purely religious program into such a big event certainly smacked of electoral ambition. "BJP has always tried to garner support using religion.....it wants the same from this event also," said a Samajwadi Party (SP) leader.
The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor Project, whose foundation stone had been laid by the Prime Minister in March 2019, has a Vedic library, meditation platforms, virtual Vedic gallery, a cafeteria, food court and other facilities for pilgrims. An estimated Rs 1,000 crore has been spent on the project.
The project was also mired in some controversies as a section of the people, whose shops and houses were razed to clear the way for the temple, voiced their opposition to the same. Hundreds of smaller, ancient temples were also razed for the project.
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