Hindu Nationalist Leader “Narendra Modi’s” Kashi connection

downloadKashi, the land of Shiv is being decked up to welcome it’s VVIP candidate for Parliament, Narendra Modi of the BJP. Modi is the talk of the temple town and from the 70,000 strong Gujarati community of which approx 35000 are voters, to professors of the Banaras Hindu University and the Teerth purohits (priests) of the Ghats everyone is finding ways to connect Modi to Kashi.

Taking the lead is Professor Kaushal Kishore Mishra, Head of the Political Science Department. “The day Modi’s name was announced as the BJP candidate from Varanasi our department initiated a project to find out more about Modi’s mission varanasi. During our interaction with approximately 70000 strong Gujarati community in Banaras (of which half are voters) the elderly in the community spoke of a young Damodar Das Modi spending his early years in Banaras. So we began exploring further,” he told Headlines Today.

Nalin Kohli, BJP spokesperson spearheading Modi’s Varanasi media campaign says: ”the Gujarati community told us Modi’s father spent his initial years here. We met them and sought details which they are tracing.” the local BJP unit and the Gujarati community are certain they will be able to join the dots when they interact with Modi.

“Narendra Modi came to Varanasi to pray at the Sankat Mochan temple and I was showing him around. During our conversation he told me he too was a ‘khati-Banarasi (son of soil) as his father had spent time in Kashi as a youngster,” Prof Mishra adds.

The opposition and analysts are quick to dismiss this new found connection as a desperate attempt to fight the ‘outsider’ tag. ”Now that Modi is fighting elections from Kashi, the BJP is desperately trying to find a local connect and underplay the outsider tag,” says ‘dharti putra’ Ajay Rai, the Congress candidate.

The local RSS leaders also claim that Modi himself spent his ‘agyatvaas’ (solitude) years at the Manikarnika Ghat in meditation.

Prof Mishra and some P.hD scholars as part of their project have also gone to the Manikarnika Ghat whose chief priest Pundit Rajiv Nandan Mishra is the record holder of most pilgrims from Gujarat and Rajasthan. “We have some information but are still trying to ascertain if the Damodar Das Modi the Gujarati community is talking about is the same as Narendra Modi’s father. Details of his Gotra and village are awaited,’ he said.

At the Gopal ji temple in Kashi the Gujarati community is preparing to give a grand reception to Modi. ”we will deck up the entire temple with fresh flowers. The women are preparing bhajans to welcome Modi home,” says Jayeshbhai Parikh, a prominent Banarasi saree trader with links both in Banaras and Surat.

Whether true or otherwise, Banaras awaits Modi to shed more light on his Kashi connection.

Source: Indiatoday.in