VARANASI: Prime minister designate Narendra Modi invoked Varanasi’s past glory, the Ganga and Mahatma Gandhi in his thanksgiving speech at Dasaswamedh Ghat here on Saturday.
He reiterated he had contested from Varanasi on the Ganga’s call and promised to realize the Mahatma’s dream of cleanliness by 2019 when the country celebrates the father of nation’s 150th anniversary. “Let us make his dream come true. Let us start cleaning the Ganga and complete the mission by 2019,” he said.
Modi said he knows it is difficult to get the people of Kashi to work in a lighter vein. But added they would have to work with him. “You did not give me a five-year contract. You gave me a mandate to work. Pledge in front of the Ganga that we will work together for development.”
He said people must be wondering why was he talking of small issues like cleanliness instead of bigger things like foreign policy. “Small work accomplishes big tasks,” he said.
Modi said he was a man on a mission. “I have come here do something. We will turn Kashi into the spiritual powerhouse of the world. India would become an economic power only once it had achieved spiritual greatness,” he said.
He earlier arrived in the city along with BJP president Rajnath Singh and aide Amit Shah. Modi was given a rousing welcome ahead of his thanksgiving rally in Varanasi, where he won the Lok Sabha election from by a margin of 3.72 lakh votes
The three prayed at the Kashi Vishwanath temple before performing the Ganga puja at Dasaswamedh Ghat and participating in the grand Sandhya Aarti. Modi kept talking about his long-term engagement with the city. He did not spell out whether he would retain Varanasi and give up Vadodara in his home state.
Entry of regular devotees was banned on the Dasaswamedh Ghat on Saturday due to security concerns.
Modi earlier garlanded a statue of Sardar Parel before arriving at Dasaswamedh. He then proceeded to perform the ‘rudrabhishek’ at the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The PM designate arrived at the Ghat to participate in the Ganga aarti after a 40-minute halt at the temple. He invoked Ma Ganga and the deep connect he felt for the holy river. “The Ganga has created a deep bond between me and you.” He said the river has been screaming for help for many years.
Modi attacked Uttar Pradesh’s Samajwadi Party government and the local administration for denying him the permission to campaign freely in Varanasi.
“I must have been the only candidate in this election to have met my electorate for barely seven minutes. Kashi even endorsed my forced silence.”
He took on the Congress saying the country’s mandate was so decisive that even the opposition would be forced to be a coalition
Source Times of India