Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin his two-day visit to Varanasi today, his first visit to his Lok Sabha constituency since the mammoth win by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. The Prime Minister had camped in this holy city for three days in the run up to the UP elections, something that was seen as making a big difference to the saffron party’s tally. The BJP eventually won 312 of 403 Assembly seats, the biggest win by a party since the 1977 elections.
On agenda during his thanksgiving visit are the launch of 17 infrastructure projects, flagging off the Mahamana Express between Varanasi and Gujarat's industrial hub Surat and Vadodara and offering prayers at the Tulsi Manas Temple and Durga Temple in Durgakund.
"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.
PM Modi will arrive in the holy city of Varanasi at around 3pm today. He will begin his visit with the opening of the second phase of a trade facilitation centre for weavers and handicraft workers in Bada-Lalpur, called Deendayal Hastkala Sankul after RSS ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya.
PM Modi will then 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.
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 big highlight of the PM’s visit will be the launch of the Mahamana Express between Varanasi and Gujarat's industrial hub Surat and Vadodara. The launch will also be symbolic since it is named after former Hindu Mahasabha president Madan Mohan Malviya, also addressed as 'Mahamana'.
PM Modi will flag off the train from Vadodara remotely through a video link. It will arrive in Varanasi tomorrow. This will be the country's third Mahamana Express train.
He will then head for the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) guest house where he will meet BJP workers. PM Modi is also scheduled later offer prayers at the Tulsi Manas Temple and Durga Temple in Durgakund. He will also release a commemorative stamp on the 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.
Crucially the visit comes just weeks before the Lok Sabha elections to two seats - Gorakhpur and Phulpur - vacated by chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Maurya.