The Odisha Assembly elections are two years away, but the BJP has began its preparations to bloom the lotus in the state in right earnest.
Replete with photo-ops and crowd wooing measures, the BJP big shots descended in Odisha on Saturday, fixing the spotlight on the eastern coast of the country.
The latest in series of such attempts to reach out to the people in Odisha was the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the famous 11th century Lingaraj Temple in Odisha. Adhering to the previously planned schedule, the prime minister reached the temple sharp at 9 am to offer his prayers and participate in a special Puja Arati. He offered flowers, bel leaves, milk, coconut water and water to the deity.
The Prime Minister spent around 25 minutes in the temple premises.
Modi also visited the temple of Goddess Bhubaneswari and Parbati, said Manoranjan Panigrahy, CEO of the Lingaraj Temple Administration.
"The Prime Minister was so enthusiastic to know about Lingaraj temple. He prayed for the welfare of the nation and 'Swachh Bharat'," said chief priest of the temple.
The 'seveyats' or temple priests did not miss a chance to take selfies with the Prime Minister.
The 54-metre high temple is spread over a 25,000 sq.ft area and has over 150 small and big subsidiary temples in its premises.
According to the ground reports by CNN-News 18 Modi's visit to the temple pleasantly surprised scores of devotees, as they fished out their mobile phones to click a picture of Modi. The prime minister also waved and smiled at his supporters.
According to The Times of India, special arrangements had been made at the temple for Modi's visit but special instructions were given not to close the temple to general public at any time because of the VVIP's visit.
"Of course security has been tightened in and around the temple premises but we have not been instructed to stop or prevent any devotee from entering the temple during the PM's visit. Modi will offer flowers, bel leaves, milk, coconut water and water to Lord Lingaraj on the occasion," the news article quoted temple administration as saying.
Before he headed to the temple, the prime minister also met the families of freeodom fighters who were part of the Paika rebellion against the British East India Company in 1817, according to News18. He felicitated them at the Raj Bhawan.
Modi arrived here on Saturday to attend the two-day BJP National Executive meeting that began later in the day. He also held a roadshow ahead of the meet.
The prime minister will address the concluding session on Sunday.
Later in the day, Modi will head to Surat and hold a road show in the BJP bastion and his native state, Gujarat. The prime minister will also interact with people during his two-day visit to his home state.
With inputs from IANS
Updated Date: Apr 16, 2017 10:33 AM