PM Modi to visit Sant Ravi Das temple in Varanasi on Friday, his third trip since 2016

New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS): Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to lay the foundation for and inaugurate projects worth more than Rs 14,000 crore during his two-day visit to Varanasi.

All eyes will be on the launch of twelve big-ticket projects, including the setting up of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), and Varanasi Medical College, among others.

However, the ‘ground-breaking ceremony’ of Sant Guru Ravidas Museum by PM Modi, slated for February 23, is drawing much attention, apparently because of its political ramifications in the run-up to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

PM Modi will visit the Sant Ravidas temple and offer prayers, and later in the day, lay the foundation for the museum in Seer Goverdhanpur, the birthplace of the revered guru. He will also unveil a statue of Sant Ravidas inside the temple premises and address a public meeting.

Sant Ravidas, the 15th century social reformer, is venerated as a spiritual guru in many parts of the northern belt, including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir.

The upcoming museum at the birthplace Seer Goverdhanpur will be a fitting tribute to his contributions during the Bhakti movement, and will vividly describe the birth and spiritual life of Sant Ravidas through digital pictures and video clippings.

Built at a cost of about Rs 23 crore, spanning an area spanning 4,000 sq mt, it will become a major 'pilgrimage centre' for the devotees and followers of the sect.

The ‘interactive’ museum, said political watchers, will go a long way in fortifying the community’s belief in the BJP government.

Notably, the sect and its followers have been wooed by many political leaders in the past, including Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Ahilesh Yadav and more.

Sant Ravidas’ followers comprise a major chunk of voter base in states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and also Jammu and Kashmir.

In Western UP, they form a dedicated voter base of Mayawati-led BSP.

Former Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi of the Congress also belongs to the same community and was deployed by the party during elections to win over the support of the community members.

For the BJP, the dedication of an ‘interactive’ museum to Sant Ravidas goes on to show its commitment towards the sect’s welfare.

On Friday, when PM Modi meets and interacts with the community members in Seer Goverdhanpur, it will be his third visit to the guru’s birthplace. His first visit was in 2016, months before Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. The second time PM Modi visited the holy town was in 2019, when he also spent some time with the community.

Notably, this is not the first museum dedicated to Sant Ravidas. In August 2023, PM Modi had laid the foundation for a temple as well as memorial dedicated to Sant Ravidas in Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar district.

The memorial, being constructed at cost of over Rs 100 crore, will cater to lakhs of sect followers, mostly comprising Dalits.

Dedicating two memorials to Sant Ravidas within a year shows the Centre’s resolve to recreate and restore the legacy of the 15th century guru.

Political pundits believe that the BJP is bound to ‘harvest’ a favourable outcome in the 2024 polls, on the back of its outreach to the community.



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Title: PM Modi to visit Sant Ravi Das temple in Varanasi on Friday, his third trip since 2016

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