BJP seems to be stepping up the heat for the 2019 elections. After Prime Minister Modi unofficially sounded the poll bugle in a graceful manner from the Westminster hall in London, he is all set to visit the Kedarnath shrine along with 19 chief ministers from BJP ruled states on April 28th. In a historic moment, all the BJP chief ministers will attend the laser show to be organised at the shrine on 28th April. The laser show will highlight the importance of the famous shrine. It will also showcase various forms of Lord Shiva as well as highlight the efforts made by the Modi government to bring Kedarnath to its present glory after it faced heavy damage during the colossal 2013 floods in the state. The gates of the popular shrine will be opened for the public on 29th April. There could not have been a better way for the BJP to unofficially kick-start its campaign for 2019 general elections. This is bound to enthuse its cadres for the crucial polls next year.
It will be for the first time that so many dignitaries will visit Kedarnath together. This itself sums up the importance of this visit. Prime Minister Modi has always been intimately connected with the shrine. He visited the shrine twice last year including, the famous October visit during which he offered prayers and performed the Rudrabhishek at the shrine. He also laid down the stone for a new ‘Kedarpuri’ which was badly damaged during the massive 2013 floods. Showing the government’s firm commitment towards rectifying the damage done by the 2013 floods, Prime Minister Modi had promised that every possible modern facility will be extended to the shrine and its vicinity. This was particularly important because the shrine carries unparalleled importance among the Hindus, being a part of the char dham yatra. Some of these included wider roads and three storey houses for priests. He made it clear that due to the incompetence of the previous UPA government and the Congress government in Uttarakhand, it was up to Prime Minister Modi and the sitting BJP government in Uttarakhand to carry out the entire restoration work.
Going by news reports, Prime Minister Modi and Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat have been keeping a constant check on the reconstruction activities of Kedarnath, which are in full swing. In fact, the preparations of redevelopment activities in the sanctum sanctorum are in the last stage. When the gates of the shrine open for the pilgrims this year, they will not only reach the shrine much more comfortably but will also remain bewildered by the high tech preparations at the shrine. Due to Prime Minister Modi’s efforts the redevelopment work could be carried out in a short span of time. In fact, it is unbelievable how the administration has been successful in carrying out the installation of underground telephone and power cables. The district administration is confident that this will end the problems created by adverse weather conditions and have also put in place a power backup supply system ensuring that the pilgrims are not bothered by power outages. The markets have also been systematised to avoid overcrowding. Even the mules used for travelling by pilgrims will be GPS-enabled!
It seems that the BJP and Prime Minister Modi are setting new benchmarks in Indian politics. Visits to Hindu shrines were seen as highly communal and it was mandatory for every politician to sport skull caps or visit minority institutions in order to receive a certificate of secularism before going to polls. However, with this visit the BJP chief ministers and Prime Minister Modi will shatter this illusion with a decisive blow. After this visit, the secular facade created by the Congress and its entire ecosystem will become a thing of the past.