As the state capital Shimla prepares for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on April 27, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who has been camping in New Delhi for the past five days, is all set to make a dash for Kerala’s Palakkad district, which is known for its ancient temples.
The CM, who is in the midst of a money laundering case, is expected to fly to Coimbatore on Monday wife Pratibha Singh and a physician, as per sources. The chief minister’s office (CMO) has described his tour as a private visit even though the Kerala government has already declared him a state guest.
After reaching Coimbatore, Virbhadra Singh will travel to Palakkad town. The town which is located close to the interstate border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is known for its ancient temples. Puthur Sri Thirupurakkal Bhagavathi Temple is one of the most famous temples in Palakad. The temple is considered to be one of the most powerful temples of Shakthi in the entire Malabar. The 100-year-old temple is only two kilometres away from Palakad town. Another popular temple in the district is Thiruvalathur Randu Moorthy temple, known for its grand architecture and sculptures. The temple is believed to have been discovered by legendary sage Parsurama. The temple is dedicated to two goddesses—Mahishasuramardhini and Annapurnneswari. Virbhadra is an ardent devotee of Bhadrakali.
The CMO is, however, keeping the details of the tour under wraps. “I think the chief minister is going to attend a wedding function,” said an official of the police. Another official said that the CM is going for an ayurveda treatment.
Virbhadra Singh is expected to return to Delhi on April 25. He had left Shimla on April 18 to appear before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with his money laundering case. The ED had grilled him for over nine hours. The ED action comes close on the heels of a CBI chargesheet against the CM, his wife and seven others for allegedly amassing assets worth around ₹10 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income.
Meanwhile, back home the opposition BJP is intensifying its campaign against the CM and demanding for his resignation on moral grounds. The BJP had launched a campaign ‘Mafia Hatao Pradesh Bachao’ targeting his ministers. The saffron party has hardened its posture against the Congress after it won the Bhoranj bypoll held earlier this month.