Kerala as dear to me as Varanasi, says PM Modi in Guruvayur

PTI

Thrissur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi  accompanied by Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam,  State Devasom Minister Kadakampally Surendran along with other senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, arrives to offer his prayers at Lord Krishna temple in Guruvayur of Thrissur district, Saturday, June 8, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Thrissur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi accompanied by Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam, arrives to offer his prayers at Lord Krishna temple in Guruvayur of Thrissur district, Saturday, June 8, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at the famed Lord Krishna temple here Saturday morning. He also performed the thulabharam ritual for which the temple authorities had reportedly arranged over 100 kg of lotus flowers.

The ritual is an important offering to Lord Krishna wherein a person is weighed against a commodity such as flowers, grains, fruits and similar articles and the equal value or quantity is offered as donation.

In a tweet, the prime minister said that he prayed for the country’s progress and prosperity at the “iconic” temple.

“The Guruvayur Temple is divine and magnificent. Prayed at this iconic Temple for the progress and prosperity of India,” Modi tweeted.

He also posted a photo of himself performing the thulabharam ritual at the temple. “A blessed moment from the Guruvayur Temple,” he wrote.

Modi also offered kadali fruit, lotus flowers and ghee to the deity, temple sources said.

The prime minister spent around 20 minutes inside the temple before returning to the nearby temple guest house by foot.

Wearing a traditional Kerala white dhoti and a shawl, Modi was received at the temple gate by the authorities with a traditional poornakumbh.

He was accompanied by Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan and Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran.

PM Modi took a three-minute walk to the temple from the nearby Sreevatsam guest house.

Security had been tightened in and around the temple since Friday in view of his visit.

Earlier, the prime minister reached here in a special naval helicopter from the Kochi naval airport at 9.50 a.m.

Modi is scheduled to address an ‘Abhinandan Sabha’– a party meeting being organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party Kerala State committee. This will be Modi’s first public meeting after assuming office as the prime minister for a second consecutive term.

He arrived in Kochi late Friday night and was received at the naval airport by Sathasivam, Muraleedharan and Surendran. He stayed at the government guest house in Kochi.

Having won a massive mandate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said political parties and pundits failed to gauge the public mood ahead of the Lok Sabha election and thanked the electorate for reposing confidence in the saffron party.

In his first public engagement after leading the BJP to a grand victory in the general election, retaining power for a successive term, PM Modi said he made Kerala his first stop after the win despite having no MP from the state since it was as dear to him as his constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

Terming the just concluded Lok Sabha election to 542 seats as a “festival of democracy,” PM Modi lauded and thanked the electorate of Kerala for their contribution to it.

The country has seen that “people are God” in elections, he said.

“Political parties and political pundits could not gauge people’s mood. So did those involved in conducting poll surveys. But people gave a strong mandate for the BJP,” he said and thanked the voters for choosing his party.

The recent polls proved that people rejected “negativity” and accepted positivity, he said.

On making Kerala his first stop post the LS polls win, Modi said some would have even wondered why he chose the southern state despite BJP “not opening its account” from here in the Parliament.

But an elected leader was common to all, he said. “Elections have their place in democracy and it is the responsibility of the winner to take care of 130 crore people. Those who made us win or those who did not, both are our people. Kerala is as dear to me as Varanasi is,” Modi said.

The BJP was not working for mere electoral politics and was keen on building the country and ensuring India gets its place of pride in the international arena, Modi added.

On the Nipah virus issue, he said the Centre was working “shoulder-to-shoulder” with the Kerala government to provide all required assistance.

(PTI)