PM Narendra Modi is in Varanasi on a two-day visit to the holy city.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Varanasi on a two-day visit, his first trip to his parliamentary constituency after the BJPs oversized victory in the Uttar Pradesh elections earlier this year. PM Modi, 67, had camped for three days in the holy city in March that helped give the BJP 312 of the 403 seats, the biggest majority for any party in Uttar Pradesh since 1977. Clutching a bunch of infrastructure projects for the temple town, PM Modi has started his two-day visit to thank the electorate for their support.
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A highlight of the visit is the launch of the Mahamana Express between Varanasi and Gujarat's industrial hub Surat and Vadodara, the parliamentary seat that he had vacated three years ago to retain Varanasi. In the 2014 general elections, PM Modi had contested from two seats, won both and later, retained Varanasi.
PM Modi started his visit from a trade facilitation centre for handicrafts at Bada Lalpur, called Deendayal Hastkala Sankul after RSS ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya. The, centre complete with a convention hall, has been built to give the city's weavers and artisans a marketing platform.
From the same venue, PM Modi will also inaugurate nearly 17 infrastructure projects, including the Ramnagar-Samne Ghat bridge and the Balua Ghat bridge, and lay the foundation of nearly six projects including Ramna Sewage Treatment Plant to help keep the Ganga clean.
"Tomorrow I begin my Varanasi visit, during which various development works will be launched," PM Modi tweeted, announcing his programme for the next two days.
Banking services of the Utkarsh Bank that specialises in micro finance will also be inaugurated by the Prime Minister. He will also unveil a plaque to mark the laying of foundation stone of the bank's headquarters.
The Mahamana Express is as big on facilities as it is on symbolism. With plush interiors built under PM Modi's Make in India initiative, the train is named after former Hindu Mahasabha president Madan Mohan Malviya, also addressed as 'Mahamana'. PM Modi will launch the train stationed at Vadodara through a video link; it will reach Varanasi on Saturday.
After a meeting with local BJP leaders, PM Modi will stop by at the historic Tulsi Manas Temple and Durga Mata Temple in the city to seek blessings. In between, an official statement issued by his office said, PM Modi will also release a postal stamp on "Ramayana".
Tomorrow PM Modi will briefly participate in a sanitation related activity in the village of Shahanshahpur and distribute certificates to beneficiaries of the PM's housing scheme and address the gathering.
State government officials have been working hard to spruce up the city ahead of PM Modi's visit. At many locations, the government is giving roads a fresh coating and cleaning up the riverbanks that figure on his itinerary.
The visit comes weeks before the Lok Sabha elections to two seats - Gorakhpur and Phulpur - vacated by chief minister Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Maurya.