Gujarat chief minister Narenda Modi is scheduled to meet the Puri Shankaracharya and the Gajapati king during his visit to Odisha on July 16, party sources said.
"(The Gujarat CM's) Odisha visit is totally non-political. He would seek the blessings of Lord Jagannath. He is a devotee of the Lord and used to perform the 'chhera pahanra' (sweeping of the chariots) for the car festival in Ahmedabad," BJP state unit president KV Singhdeo said.
The visit by Modi, recently appointed the BJP election campaign committee chairman, is nonetheless being seen to assume a political significance as it may set the ball rolling for BJP's poll campaign in the state.
Modi's proposed meeting with Puri seer Swami Nischalananda Saraswati and Gajapati king Dibyasingha Deb, too, is important as the duo are considered major Hindu religious figures.
Although no public meetings have been planned as part of Modi's itinerary, the BJP leader will meet the party leaders here. State BJP leaders have already adopted a resolution welcoming Modi's installation as the chairman of the election committee.
Party sources said Odisha BJP leaders had invited Modi to visit the state following the national executive meet in Goa where the Gujarat CM was virtually identified as the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 elections.
Meanwhile, according to the programme for Modi's trip released by state BJP leaders, the Gujarat CM would arrive at 9.15am and depart at 6pm. He would have 'darshan' of Lord Jagannath at Gundicha Temple and Goddess Laxmi and 'Maa Bimala' at Sri Mandir.
He would spend around 90 minutes in Gundicha Temple and Sri Mandir, party sources added.