In his blog addressed to the people of Varanasi, Modi said the ancient city has been a symbol and seat of knowledge, education, cultures and traditions for thousands of years. The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate further said that Varanasi is the city of Lord Shiva, who acts as a connecting bridge between diverse traditions and cultures.

He said Varanasi has today attained nationwide attention and added that it is the unconventional charm of this city, inherited from Lord Shiva, which can pull the nation out of pitfalls of depression and disappointment in a quite convincing and celebrated manner.

Talking on the issue of cleanliness of River Ganga, Modi said goddess Ganga appears in her true divine form in Varanasi and provides ‘salvation’ to thousands of pilgrims. He, however, expressed disappointment over the fact that Ganga is today struggling for her existence and the condition of the holy river has witnessed no significant improvement despite spending crores of rupees. The BJP leader stressed on the necessity of putting in clinical efforts to restore the river’s lost glory.

Emphasizing on the religious and cultural significance of Hinduism, yet keeping the spirit of secularism intact, the BJP strongman said Varanasi is considered as the holiest cities among Hindus. Modi added the city is known for Buddhism and Jainism as well as Lord Gautam Buddha, who gave his first sermon at Sarnath, near Varanasi.

The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate also said that the tune of renowned Shehnai player Ustad Bismillah Khan, a Bharat Ratna awardee, denotes the prevalence of communal tranquility among the Hindus and Muslims. He added that this makes Varanasi one of the biggest educational and intellectual centers in the world.

Modi said that he wants to see Varanasi earn the tag of India’s intellectual capital, just like Delhi is the national capital and Mumbai has the sobriquet of being the country’s financial capital. Promising to make conscious efforts towards this direction, the saffron party’s poster boy said that Varanasi would be developed as such a city which will become the center of cultural and intellectual activities and witness a constant flow of knowledge.

Modi also said that Varanasi is a major tourist spot and the city enjoys a worldwide reputation for its handicrafts but still the youth here are unemployed. He added that there was a time when the entire nation used to relate Varanasi with its famous ‘paan’ and sari which generated employment to thousands of people. He said that it is heartening to note that the people are still struggling hard to find job and the city has not been able to produce any new brand, especially at a time when the older brands are losing their sheen.

Modi further mentioned in his blog that the old legacy of Varanasi needs to be rekindled and the city’s cottage industries along with handicrafts should be provided a major fillip. He said that these can generate a number of employment opportunities.

Modi also said that Varanasi is grappling with a number of problems related to roads, encroachment, traffic jams, water, electricity and facing negligent attitude of the Centre and state government.

Asserting that contractors and mafias call shots most of the times, Modi promised to come down heavily on them if the NDA forms government at the Centre.

Criticizing the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the BJP strongman also wrote in his blog that it is responsible for slide in development and as a result has pushed the nation towards backwardness.

Appealing to the people of Varanasi to act as precursor of change, Modi said the time has come to bring a major transformation. He said that Varanasi reflects the nation’s political machinery and the initiation for change should begin from this holy city.

Modi expressed confidence that the winds of change will blow from Varanasi and the city will act as the harbinger of development and good governance.

JPN/Inputs from Modi's blog

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