Published On: Tue, Mar 7th, 2017

Narendra Modi to visit Gujarat today, offer prayers at Somnath Temple

Ahmedabad: After completing a hectic campaign in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Gujarat for a two-day visit on Tuesday, his seventh visit in as many months.

Campaigning for the UP elections ended Monday. Gujarat goes to polls later this year.

In September, Modi had said he would visit his home state more often. In the last six visits, he covered various regions of the state from the Saurashtra to the tribal belt, inaugurating schemes and projects especially for irrigation and farming.

On Tuesday, Modi will visit the historical Somnath temple near Veraval in Gujarat. He will offer a special ‘puja’ at the temple, where he is also a trustee. This will be Modi’s first visit to the temple after becoming prime minister in May 2014.

Other trustees on the temple board include BJP president Amit Shah, former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani and former chief minister Keshubhai Patel. Advani’s Ram Rath Yatra that started from Somnath temple in 1990 had laid the foundation of the BJP in the country.

Modi’ present visit is considered politically significant as this is an election year and the party has received some serious setback in its socio-political-economic base in the state where he was the chief minister for over 13 years before becoming prime minister.

Since Modi left for Delhi, the state has seen separate agitations by upper caste Patels and the Dalit community. In this period, chief minister Anandiben Patel who was handpicked by Modi, also had to resign due to age-related issues in August.

Modi is expected to arrive at Surat airport on 7 March and proceed to Dahej for the inauguration of a petrochemical complex set up by ONGC Petro Additions Ltd, a joint venture company set up by Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC), a state government official said. Later in the day, he will also inaugurate a new bridge on the Narmada river near Bharuch and address a public meeting, he added, on condition of anonymity.

Modi will attend a dinner organized at chief minister Vijay Rupani’s residence, where state ministers and BJP lawmakers will be present. After staying over in capital Gandhinagar, Modi will visit Somnath temple on Wednesday. Later, in Gandhinagar, he will address around 6,000 women sarpanchs from across the country on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

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