- This is PM's first visit to Kerala in his second term as Prime Minister
- PM had visited the Kerala temple in 2008 as the chief minister of Gujarat
- From Kerala, PM will begin his official visit to Maldives and Sri Lanka
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today offered prayers at the famous Guruvayur temple in Kerala before heading to the Maldives which will be his first overseas visit in his second term as Prime Minister.
PM Modi arrived in a special naval helicopter from Kochi at Sree Krishna College ground near the temple at 9:50 am, news agency PTI reported. He was accompanied by Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan and Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran to the temple where he was received with a traditional poornakumbham (pot full of offerings).
Dressed in mundu and veshti (white shawl), the traditional dress of Kerala, PM Modi performed the ritual of "thulabharam" in which he weighed himself against 100 kg of lotus flowers on a giant scale. He also offered various items including ghee, a special variety of red banana (kathali), among other things.
The Guruvayur Temple is divine and magnificent. Prayed at this iconic Temple for the progress and prosperity of India. pic.twitter.com/sB5I4GEYZA- Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 8, 2019
After praying at the temple, Narendra Modi addressed party workers in Thrissur and acknowledged their work in the national polls. The BJP failed to open its account in the coastal state which largely voted for the Congress helping it win 19 of the state's 20 Lok Sabha seats. The ruling LDF won only one seat in the elections, its worst electoral performance in decades. "I don't differentiate between my countrymen. For me, the people of Kerala are just as much my own, as the people of Varanasi," he said. This is PM Modi's first visit to Kerala after the BJP's landslide victory in the national election.
The Prime Minister's visit to Kerala coincides with the tour of Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his constituency of Wayanad in northern Kerala. Rahul Gandhi, who reached Wayanad on Friday, is scheduled to participate in at least 15 public receptions across the constituency in the next two days.
PM Modi had visited the Guruvayur temple in 2008 after he became the chief minister of Gujarat for a second time.
From Kerala, Narendra Modi will begin his two-day official visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka. "These visits indicate the importance we attach to the policy of 'Neighbourhood First' and will further cement ties with key maritime neighbours," he tweeted on Friday.
In Maldives, PM Modi will address the country's parliament. He will also meet President Ibrahim Solih, following which a number of agreements are expected to be signed including budgetary support by India for development projects in Maldives.
Both PM Modi and the Maldivian President will jointly inaugurate two defence projects - a coastal surveillance radar system and composite training centre for the Maldives National Defence Forces or MNDF. PM Modi will also be honoured with the Order of Nishanizzuddeen, a prestigious award given by the Government of Maldives.
After Maldives, PM Modi will stopover in Sri Lanka. Through these visits, The Prime Minister aims to underline his government's continued commitment towards its ''Neighbourhood First'' policy.