Gujarat Chief Minister and chairman of BJP national campaign committee Narendra Modi on Tuesday sought to strike an emotional chord between Odisha and Gujarat by acknowledging “the rich contribution of Odias for the development of Gujarat”.
“Odias sweated out for the development of Gujarat,’’ Modi told reporters in chaste Odia, after performing puja at Sri Gundicha temple and Sri Mandir in Puri. What seemed to be a religious visit to the State, Modi did not waste time to take potshot at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his lack of knowledge of Odia. At every given opportunity, he spoke in Odia before he reverted to Hindi, thus making it clear that though a total stranger to the local language, he can master Odia faster than his Odisha counterpart.
Stating that he came from Somnath to Jagannath dham to seek the blessings of the deities for the overall development of the country, Modi harped on many similarities between Odisha and Gujarat. “You have a Sun temple at Konark where the first sunray touches the magnificent edifice, whereas the Sun temple at Modera in Gujarat gets the last sunray,” said Modi, who came for an eight-hour visit to the State.
After having darshan of the deities in the two temples, Modi went to the palace of Puri Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb, where both had discussions for about 10 minutes. Neither Modi nor Deb elaborated on the discussion.
Later, Modi spent nearly half-an-hour with Shankaracharya of Gobardhan peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati. The Shankaracharya advised Modi to work sincerely for the development of the country as no other political party is working for the nation’s development.
Modi, who arrived in Puri amid tight security, first went to Gundicha temple. He spent about 20 minutes inside the temple and offered puja. His family priest Raghunath Gochhikar and other priests accompanied Modi to the temple. On his way to Puri, Modi stopped for five minutes at Sakhigopal and paid tribute at the statues of Pancha Sakha in an apparent bid to appeal to the sentiments of Odias.