Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s launch of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor today, the latest in a series of blockbuster events at his constituency Varanasi ahead of the Uttar Pradesh election early next year, provoked a caustic swipe from Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav.
“People stay in Kashi when the end is near,” the Samajwadi Party leader said in a comment that has been slammed by BJP leaders.
PM Modi has been visiting UP, especially Varanasi, for events that, many say, have blurred the lines between an official function and the BJP’s election campaign.
Asked about reports of a month-long celebration involving the PM, Akhilesh Yadav sneered: “It is good. They can stay there not just for one month, but even two or three months. That is the right place to stay. People spend their last days in Banaras (Varanasi).”
The former Chief Minister was referring to a Hindu belief that it is auspicious to spend one’s last days in Kashi or Varanasi.
In a packed day, PM Modi took a dip in the Ganga and led a yajna at the Kashi Vishwanath before launching the Kashi Vishwanath Dham (corridor) project. Chief ministers of all BJP-ruled states are present for the Prime Minister’s two-day visit and will attend a conclave with him tomorrow.
In the evening, he witnessed the spectacular Ganga aarti on the banks of the holy river.
Elections are due in three months in Uttar Pradesh and four other states.
Akhilesh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party have been campaigning aggressively to oust the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government.
Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of PM Modi, is part of the Purvanchal region that has 160 seats in the 403-member UP assembly.
Akhilesh Yadav has accused the BJP of trying to take credit for projects that he started as Chief Minister before losing power in 2017.
“They are good at telling lies in front of you and me. But, one should avoid telling lies in front of the god,” he told reporters.
He has claimed documentary evidence that the Kashi Vishwanath corridor project was approved by his government a claim that has been mocked by the BJP.