Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his model village project in Uttar Pradesh’s Jayapur on Friday, saying it was the village that was adopting him and not the other way round.
Modi, who won the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi, is on a two-day visit to the holy city, his first after becoming Prime Minister. He was in Jayapur to launch the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, under which every parliamentarian has to adopt a village in his constituency and remodel it.
“I have not adopted Jayapur; it’s Jayapur that has adopted me,” Modi said to a rousing reception. “The model village would become a model for others to emulate, when one is ready, the rest will follow.”
Calling himself a “sevak”, the Prime Minister appealed to the villagers to ensure their children washed their hands before a meal and to check the killing of the girl child.
“Female foeticide is shocking,” he said. “Supposing the male-female ratio is 1000:800. It means that 200 males won’t have a girl to marry. Let’s begin a new chapter; let’s celebrate the birth of girl child.”
Modi said it was the small and simple things that make a difference, urging the people to take pride in the village.
“You may think what kind of a PM talks of public participation in solving local issues, to take our children to polio booths, ensure cleanliness and the need to honour our elders or to celebrate the birthdays of our villages,” he said. “That’s the problem. So far tall talks have led to nothing. I want to do big things by getting things done the right way.”
He said those who were in a sudden rush to get villages selected under the model village scheme were wrong to believe that money is going to flow into such villages. “That’s not going to happen for this is a self-driven scheme, which doesn’t have any financial provision,” he said.
The PM said he chose Jayapur because it was the first village he had heard of after arriving in Varanasi.
Modi arrived at the airport located at Babatpur near Varanasi around 10:00am and left straight for Bada Lalpur village.
He will interact with the general public in Ravindrapuri locality of the city and hold a meeting with local BJP leaders at the guest house of Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW).
Modi is also scheduled to unveil a statue of Swami Vivekananda, whom he has always held as his icon, at Vijayanagaram Tiraha crossroad in the city.
He is also likely to visit a hospital situated inside the "ashram" set up by followers of spiritual leader Shri Anandamay Maa.
Security has been tightened for the Prime Minister's visit. According to inspector general of police (public grievances) Ashok Jain, 12 SP rank police officials of Uttar Pradesh, 18 additional SPs, 20 deputy SPs, 135 sub-inspectors, besides more than 1,000 personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary have been deployed.
The Special Protection Group which is responsible for the Prime Minister's security would be assisted by officials and personnel of the Uttar Pradesh police.
The Prime Minister's visit, which is likely to last a little over 24 hours, has sent soaring the hope of a better future among residents of the holy town, which has been facing crumbling infrastructure and lack of basic amenities.
Among the oldest cities in the world, Varanasi has been constantly in the spotlight ever since Modi chose to retain the constituency he had won by a huge margin of 3.7 lakh votes, vacating Vadodara in his home state of Gujarat where his victory (by 5.7 lakh votes) was even bigger.
(With inputs from agencies)