- PM Narendra Modi laid foundation stones for projects in Kedarnath today
- He said after 2013 flash floods, he offered to reconstruct shrine areas
- But the then Uttarakhand chief minister declined his help, PM Modi said
The Prime Minister, who offered prayers at the famous Lord Shiv temple before launching the projects, said he had rushed to Kedarnath after the floods four years ago and offered to reconstruct the areas surrounding the shrine. The then chief minister of Uttarkhand Vijay Bahuguna of the Congress, now in the BJP, had agreed "in principle," the Prime Minister said, adding that the party's central leadership was alarmed when word reached it.
"In my excitement I shared the development with the media and within an hour TV channels flashed it, causing a storm in New Delhi. They (the Congress-led UPA government then at the Centre) viewed the development with a kind of alarm as they thought the Gujarat chief minister will now reach Kedarnath and mounted pressure on the then state government not to agree to my request," PM Modi said.
He described the projects for which he lay foundation stones today as ambitious and expensive, but said there would be no dearth of funds to ensure that they are completed on schedule. These include improved facilities for devotees, construction of retaining walls and ghats at the Mandakini and Saraswati rivers, an approach road to the shrine and reconstructing Adi Guru Shankaracharya's tomb which was destroyed in 2013.
"PM Narendra Modi ji came over here for the second time we welcome him and if he will come here again for the third time before Lok Sabha election, then again we will be welcoming him. I have already inaugurated all those projects, then why is he inaugurating it again?" said former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat of the Congress.
PM Modi had visited Kedarnath in May when the Himalayan shrine was reopened for devotees after remaining closed for six months for the winter. He said today that he once wanted to live there and "spend all my life at Baba's feet."
"Baba perhaps willed it differently... He sent me out to serve 125 crore people of the country as their service is the true service of God," the Prime Minister said.