After Ayodhya, Yogi Adityanath resumes religious trail with Chitrakoot visit
Ayodhya, Chitrakoot, Naimisharanya along with Mathura, Vrindavan, Kushinagar, Varanasi and Prayag (Allahabad) are among those places that UP chief minister Adityanath wants connected with helicopter service to promote ‘religious tourism’Updated: Oct 22, 2017 15:10 IST
Days after visiting Ayodhya on Diwali eve and announcing a slew of projects there, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath will resume his ‘religious trail’ of important Hindu pilgrimage spots beginning Sunday from Chitrakoot where he is expected to stay overnight.
Political observers may see the move as an astute play of the Hindutva card.
According to a popular Hindu belief, Lord Ram had spent a majority of his 14-year exile period in Chitrakoot that now straddles the two states of UP and Madhya Pradesh and figures prominently in the development plans that BJP government has for important Hindu religious hotspots.
Before Chitrakoot, Adityanath will take brief halts at Hamirpur and Mahoba as part of efforts to remain connected with Bundelkhand where BJP swept both 2014 Lok Sabha polls and 2017 UP elections.
He is also expected to visit Naimisharanya in Sitapur, possibly in November. Also known as Neemsar, its one of the Shakti Peeths where according to a popular belief the sage Vyas wrote the ‘Puranas’, the religious texts that carry detailed narratives of creation of the Universe and trace the genealogy of various Gods and top sages.
Ayodhya, Chitrakoot, Naimisharanya along with Mathura, Vrindavan, Kushinagar, Varanasi and Prayag (Allahabad) are among those places that Adityanath wants connected with helicopter service to promote ‘religious tourism.’
During his three Ayodhya visits since taking over as the UP CM, Adityanath has got the Saryu aarti started, announced projects worth nearly ₹483 crore for the temple town that originally propelled BJP’s rise. Incidentally on the eve of his Chitrakoot visit, Adityanath sat through a review meeting for the ‘Ardh Kumbh’ preparations in Allahabad in 2019 and where the CM plans to hold a cabinet meeting exclusively devoted to decisions on Kumbh.
A visit to Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and associated with Lord Shiva, too is on the CM’s November itinerary, revealing the unmistakable Hindutva push of the BJP under the saffron-clad Adityanath.
“Various other religious spots are being identified. The idea is to develop all these religious places that were deliberately neglected by other parties due to vote bank politics,” a BJP leader admitted to HT on phone. While the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are still distant, experts say through these visits, BJP is also looking at creating a ‘Hindutva buzz’ ahead of the forthcoming civic polls likely to be called sometime in November.
“UP has been the land of Rama, Krishna, Shiva and Buddha. For far too long, these places of religious interest were neglected by the SP and the BSP out of vote bank considerations. We would of course welcome efforts to restore the lost glory of these important heritage and religious sites,” says BJP leader Chandramohan. Adityanath’s visits are expected to whip up controversy as the opposition parties are likely to slam the government for “playing polarisation politics through selective development of religious places.”
Sandwiched between these visits will be a trip to Agra and the Taj Mahal, which senior BJP leader Vinay Katiyar claims stands on a site where a Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva once stood.
Adityanath has refused to be drawn into the controversy and maintained that the monument was on his government’s priority list; a play of what political observers say is a clever mix of Hindutva and development, a strategy that along with the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought about a dramatic transformation in the BJP.
The Adityanath government has also started phased launch of saffron buses in the state. The school bags that the basic education department plans to distribute to school students are also saffron.
First Published: Oct 22, 2017 15:10 IST