File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photograph:( ANI )
Attacking previous governments, the prime minister said, 'In the past 70 years no government thought of Baba (Lord Shiva) and were silent. They took care of themselves but not of this place.'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday claimed that "non-cooperation" by the previous Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh was responsible for the delay in the start of a beautification project in his Lok Sabha constituency.
He was addressing a gathering here after laying the foundation stone for the Kashi Vishwanath Temple's approach road and its beautification.
"In the first three years there was non-cooperation of the state government. The developmental projects here took place after you (people of Uttar Pradesh) made Yogi Adityanath the chief minister," he said.
"Had there been cooperation earlier, we would have launched the project instead of laying the foundation," Modi said.
Attacking previous governments, the prime minister said, "In the past 70 years no government thought of Baba (Lord Shiva) and were silent. They took care of themselves but not of this place."
Noting that it was his "pleasure" to have initiated the work here at Kashi Vishwanath, he said, "I had dreamt for a long time to work for this place. When I was not in politics I came here several times and used to think that something should happen here."
"Lord Shiva must have decided that you talk much, so now you should come here and do something," he said, adding that due to blessings the fulfilment of his dream has started.
About the beautification project, Modi said this is "mukti (freedom) for Kashi Vishwanath Dham" which was surrounded with encroachment.
"For the first time, we acquired nearby buildings, removed encroachments after which 40 ancient temples came to the fore. Many of them encroached, kitchens were set up and people were living there," he said.
Appreciating those involved in the project, Modi said, "I have seen a lot of government employees as I was CM for a long time. But I want to say with pride that the team of officers deployed here by Yogi ji is doing work with 'Bhakti' (devotion) and 'sewa bhav'."
It was difficult to take people into confidence to give their properties and ensure the project does not take political colour, he said.
"I thank people of Kashi, who gave their properties for Baba. This is the biggest 'daan' they have given for Baba," the prime minister said.
Stating that the Kashi Vishwanath temple was "targeted by enemies", he said they tried to destroy it but it again took "rebirth due to the faith" of people.
"When Gandhiji came here, he was pained why is this place is like this. In his address in the BHU, he expressed his thoughts," Modi said, suggesting the university should make the entire project a case study for research so that when it is completed the world can know how it happened.
"We will also try to trace the history of 40 temples discovered here and the government will also take care of them," the PM said, adding the project will be a model for "protection and preservation" of temples and a combination of modern technology with ancient faith.
"It will give new identity to Kashi in the world. Maybe it's in my fate. In 2014, when I came here I said 'mai aaya nahi mujhe bulaya hai' (I did not come here on my own, I was summoned). Maybe I came here for this work," he said.
Earlier, the prime minister visited the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and also inspected the project site.
During his brief stay in his constituency, Modi will attend the National Women Livelihood Meet 2019 at Deendayal Hastkala Sankul and distribute appreciation letters to five
Women Self Help Groups, whose members will share their experiences with the prime minister.
Women SHGs aided by Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - NRLM, Uttar Pradesh will hand over a cheque to the prime minister for contribution to the 'Bharat Ke Veer' Fund.