Gandhi Maidan in Bihar’s capital city Patna has been subsumed by intense religiosity. The Guru Granth Sahib — the holy book of the Sikhs — has been reverentially placed on a podium, in the sprawling ground in Patna, which is all set to celebrate 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh named Prakash Utsav or Prakash Parv.
Apart from lakhs of Sikh followers who are reaching Patna’s Gandhi Maidan, from all over the world, it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit that is highly anticipated.
— AMIR SALMAN (@AMIRSALMAN) December 25, 2016
Modi will be visiting Patna on Thursday to participate in the celebrations.
— Doordarshan News (@DDNewsLive) January 5, 2017
Given the fact that the last time Modi visited Gandhi Maidan on 27 October, 2013, for the Lok Sabha poll campaign, a series of explosions triggered by Indian Mujahideen terrorists, rocked the surrounding areas. The bombings led to large-scale criticism of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who was accused of failing to manage things properly.
Over three years later, Modi will again visit the same ground. But as they say much water has flowed under the bridge. Times have changed. And amidst this, two things have changed significantly in the past three years.
The current visit of the prime minister is more 'religious' and tinged with ceremonial responsibilities, than political. Also, this time Nitish has left no stone unturned to ensure the peaceful and smooth commencement of the programme.
Tight security has been put in place which is an imperative given the fact that the visit of the prime minister comes amid a heightened threat from Khalistani terror groups.
Also, this time Modi will be welcomed by religious chants and kirtans, which will be a nice change from the bombings that took place three years ago.
The fact that Modi and Nitish will share the same stage is prone to ignite speculations: Of some political consensus between the two leaders. But is is, by all means, mere speculation.
Modi’s presence at Gandhi Maidan should be seen in light of two facts: The first being that as the prime minister of the country, it was quite expected for him to attend such an important event of one of the most important religious communities of the country. Also, the upcoming Punjab Assembly election must be an important consideration.
Updated Date: Jan 05, 2017 10:12 AM