Prime Minister Narendra Modi will celebrate Dussehra in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow on October 11, sources said on Tuesday.
They added that PM Modi has accepted an invitation sent by the Aishbagh Ram Leela Committee organisers, who are now gearing up for a massive buildup to the Ram Leela festivities.
“The PM’s itinerary is yet not official but we are expecting that he will be in Lucknow to witness the slaying of demon king Ravana at the hands of Rama, the annual ritual that marks the end of the Ram Leela signifying the end of 14 years of exile of the lord,’ a BJP leader said.
The organisers want the Prime Minister to play Rama and fire the first arrow at Ravana’s effigy at Aishbagh Ram Leela grounds to symbolise the victory of “good over evil” – a narrative that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to deftly play up in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
On May 26, Union home minister Rajnath Singh had called upon the people to end the “BJP’s exile in UP” during a BJP rally in Saharanpur in the presence of the PM. Earlier in January, PM Modi visited the Ambedkar Memorial in Lucknow to connect with the 23% Dalits in the state.
The BJP has been out of power in the state since 2002.
Before the PM, Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar is expected to be in the state capital for the first time since the army’s “surgical” strikes on terror camps operating across the Line of Control - an act BJP hopes would shape the political discourse in all the poll-bound states.
Prime Ministers usually celebrate Dussehra in Delhi.