In Gorakhpur, PM Modi hails sants for joining govt’s health initiatives | india-news | Hindustan Times
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In Gorakhpur, PM Modi hails sants for joining govt’s health initiatives

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised contemporary India’s top sants for their “growing involvement” with his government’s welfare initiatives, particularly in the field of hygiene.

india Updated: Jul 22, 2016 17:49 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Modi in Gorakhpur
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in Gorakhpur where he inaugurated work to construct a hospital and a fertiliser plant.(Sushil Rai/ HT photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised contemporary India’s top sants for their “growing involvement” with his government’s welfare initiatives, particularly in the field of hygiene.

“Our sants today are no longer confined to talking and preaching spirituality. They are voluntarily associated with social missions like Swacch Bharat Abhiyan,” he said at a gathering at the famous Gorakhnath temple on Friday. “It is a welcome development.”

The PM was in the city to lay the foundation stone of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences and a fertiliser plant later in the day.

He also paid obeisance to Gorakhnath, the idol at the monastic shrine.

The 11th-century temple played a key role in mobilising people in eastern Uttar Pradesh during the 1990s Ram Janmabhoomi movement, but the PM avoided any talk of the controversial right-wing mission to build a temple in Lord Rama’s birthplace at Ayodhya.

Modi, instead, chose to praise the new-age sants for their involvement with the NDA government’s pro-people initiatives. At the ‘sant samagam’, he lauded the contributions of Hindu leader Mahant Avaidyanath, saying the local MP who died two years ago was an embodiment of benevolence.

“I knew Mahant Avaidyanath even before I was in politics,” the PM said after unveiling a statue of the sant, also a former head priest of Gorakhnath temple. “I learned the value of compassion from him.”

He praised local BJP Member of Parliament Yogi Adityanath, who is also Avaidyanath’s successor at the shrine. “The temple has a great legacy--and has always upheld its great age-old traditions. I know for sure that no person returns hungry from Gorakhnath mandir,” Modi said amid applause.

While the PM’s temple visit and short speech was out of bounds for the media, sources said the attendees included Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas chief Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahant Suresh Das, Mahant Vasudevacharya, Ramanujacharya Purshottamacharya from Ayodhya, Rambhadracharya from Chitrakoot, VHP leader Swami Chinmayanand and Gujarat’s Mahant Gulabnath.

Political observers have attached special significance to the PM’s Gorakhpur visit marked primarily by giving a boost to healthcare and job generation.

The Swacch Bharat Abhiyan launched 21 months ago covers 4,041 statutory cities and towns across the country, striving to clean their roads and improve infrastructure. Another pet project of the BJP-led government is the Rs 2,137-crore ‘Namami Gange’ that seeks rejuvenate the Ganges and beautify the river-fronts along its course in both the mountains and plains.