VARANASI: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended the 500-year wait to repair the Kashi Vishwanath Temple site with inauguration of a sprawling 50,000 square metre site amid fanfare, the Varanasi MP took an acerbic swipe at Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for his demolition of the sacred site hundreds of years ago.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple, that stands right next to Gyanvapi Mosque, in the last three years has got separated by a distinct peripheral barbed wire after Varanasi authorities acquired land in the neighbourhood to build a modern-day complex around the iconic temple site, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
“Some tyrants tried to destroy Varanasi. It stood its ground as Sultanats arrived and got destroyed. For every Aurangzeb , there is also a Shivaji that came,” Modi told a gathering at the inauguration that had a representation of all BJP CMs and deputy CMs.
“If any Salar Masood moves here, then brave warriors like King Suheldev make him feel the power of our unity,” he said, while invoking the Hindutva poll plank again ahead of 2022 Uttar Pradesh elections and at a time when principal opponent looks to bank upon the Muslim-Yadav combine for their election strategy.
The dignitaries included Yogi Adityanath, M L Khattar, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Biplab Deb, Biren Singh, Pema Khandu, Dinesh Sharma, Tarkishore Prasad and Keshav Maurya among others.
Modi, who later had a lunch with construction workers and engineers of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham site, was effusive in praises for their role.
“Even during COVID, the work didn’t stop. The construction workers remained committed to the development of this iconic temple shrine. Which is why Vishwanath Dham is bubbling with the energy today. Many ancient temples lost in the surrounding area have been restored again. Baba is happy by the seva and he has blessed us today,” he said.
“I would also like to congratulate our artisans, all people associated with our civil engineering, people of administration, those families who had their homes here. Along with all this, I also congratulate the UP government, CM Yogi Adityanathji, who continued to oversee Kashi Vishwanath Dham project” he added.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple premises which was spread over just about 3,000 square feet has now gained 5 lakh square feet.
“50000 to 75000 devotees can come visit the temple and its premises,” said an official.
Modi also struck a chord with Varanasi, reminding them of the powerful presence of Shiva in their daily governance.
“New India is proud of its culture and has confidence on its ability. There is Virasat and Vikas in the New India. There is only one government in Kashi of those who has damru in their hands,” he said.
Later, holding a rosary and brass pitcher, Modi took an impromptu dip in Ganga, surprising many around him, defying his age and the chilling water.
Past midnight, Modi went on to inspect various development works in Varanasi.
“This has been his practice with him. He wants to cause minimum inconvenience to public,” said an official in Prime Minister’s office.
He went to railway station as well as Kashi Vishwanath Dham project along with UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
Clad in a thick jacket and muffler, Modi moved around streets of Varanasi, meeting random people and holding kids in his hands as people showered love and affection with him.
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