Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Kerala visit on January 16 and 17 has created an ecstatic impact in the State. The first programme was an impressive ‘roadshow’ on the evening of January 16 in Ernakulam town, Kochi. Both sides of the 1.3 km path were crowded with several thousand, surpassing the organisers’ target of 50,000. A good number of them were women. Even though the declared time for the commencement of the road show was 6 pm, PM Modi came by 7.40 pm. Significantly, the crowd started to line up from 2 pm, that too, weathering the scorching sun. The enthusiasm of the masses and their ardent wish to have a glimpse of the PM were beyond the imagination of the media as well as the opponents of the BJP. Weather and tire failed to kill their zealousness. Perhaps that is why all Malayalam channels flaunted the live telecast of the mega show, which illuminated the night of Kochi.
The next programme was PM Modi’s darshan at the ancient Sreekrishna Mandir in Guruvayoor, Thrissur, on the morning of January 17. After the darshan, the PM attended the wedding ceremony of Bhagya, daughter of Suresh Gopi, BJP leader, former MP (RS) and superstar of Malayalam filmdom.
At the wedding venue, PM Modi literally stole the show. He not only blessed the couple but also presented the Ayodhya Akshat to the blessed couple, guests including Mammootty and Mohanlal, two mega stars of the Malayalam film industry, their wives, Khushboo (BJP leader and super actress) and very important personalities from the film world. Akshat distribution was not confined to the guests of Suresh Gopi, but to several other couples who got married before the Sreekrishna Mandir, Guruvayoor. He blessed all couples who got married one after another when he was there and who were waiting for their turn. It is to be remembered that hundreds of weddings take place before the Sreekrishna Mandir every day. They come there to get the auspicious moments of their life, not only from all over the State but also from other parts of the country and even abroad.
Even though it is hardly 14 days since the PM addressed the mammoth, two lakh-strong Mahila Samgamam at Thrissur city, 28 km off Guruvayoor, several thousands of party workers congregated to greet the Pradham Sevak in Guruvayoor.
It is to be remembered that ‘cyber fighters’ of both ‘Left’ as well as Right Fronts had unleashed a vicious campaign against PM Modi’s visit to Guruvayoor to attend the wedding. They spread the utter lies that several weddings were cancelled for fear of strict and stringent security measures likely to take place on the temple premises. But, the Left Democratic Front-controlled Guruvayoor Dewaswom, the managers of the Mandir, ruled out the propaganda. Chairman Dr V.K. Vijayan said three days before the PM’s visit that no such decision had been taken by Dewaswom. Regarding the restrictions on the number of people permitted to attend the wedding, he said this rule has been in force for the last several years. As sometimes more than 100 weddings take place a day, before the Mandir, 20 people alone are permitted to attend a wedding. This statement turned a slap in the face of the sinister forces behind the false propaganda. Those people even propagated that due to strict regulations in the wake of the VIP movement, marriages would not take place at the auspicious moment prescribed by the astrologers. It was a stupid statement because weddings take place in Guruvayoor sans the astrologers’ prescribed time schedule. In fact, not a single wedding had been cancelled due to the PM’s visit to Guruvayoor.
PM’s next destination was ancient Sri Ram Swamy Mandir in Thriprayar, 26 kms away from Guruvayoor, again in Thrissur district. There is a legend that the presiding murti (of Ram) there was worshipped by Sreekrishna. The PM had darshan there and performed the ritual of ‘meenootu’ (feeding the fish) in the river bordering the Mandir premises.
In fact, PM Modi mentioned Thriprayar Mandir in his speech on the occasion of the inauguration of Maharshi Valmiki International Airport in Ayodhya on December 30, 2023. During the inaugural speech, he told about the concept of ‘Nalambala darshan’ in Kerala. Keralites take it as a noble pilgrimage to go for darshan at the Mandirs of Sreerama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrukhna. The ritual is to have darshan in four Mandirs in a single day. This combo darshan is carried out in several parts of the State wherever it is practically possible in consideration with the distance between four Mandirs. Thriprayar Shri Rama Swamy Mandir is famous for this ‘nalambala darshan’. This ritual is carried out during the Malayalam calendar month of Karkkidakam (around June – July).
PM Modi also mentioned about the observance of Ramayana Masa (Ramayana Month) in the State since the time immemorial. His words carried the meaningful message that Ram is respected and worshipped throughout Bharat, not only Uthar Bharat as anti-RSS, anti-BJP and anti-Hindutwa forces try to propagate. While referring to Ramayana Masa, he lauded the people of the State for following the tradition of reading Ramayana every day during Karkkidakam. (Some people do it in the morning, some others in the night and several others twice a day. This tradition was broken by the mid-1990s, thanks to the anti-Hindutwa drive the Communist Party implemented. However, it has been revived in a more meticulous manner since the RSS-organised Vishva Hindu Sammelan of 1982, under the able leadership of veteran RSS Pracharaks swargiya K Bhaskar Rao, swargiya P Madhav and swargiya P Parameshwar and Swargiya Ranga Hari, called on the Keralites to observe it systematically.
In Thriprayar Rama Mandir, PM Modi spent time listening to Ramayana recitation by the children. He found time for a selfie with a small child when he requested him. Even though Thriprayar is only 26 kms away from Guruvayoor, several thousands, including women in large numbers, had congregated to greet the PM.
After Mandir darshan, PM Modi flew to Kochi to dedicate several infrastructure projects worth Rs 4000 cr in Cochin Shipyard to the country. They were Rs 1800 cr New Dry Dock, Rs 970 cr International Ship Repairing Facility and Rs 1236 cr LPG Import Terminal for Indian Oil Corporation. The ceremony was also attended by Kerala Governor Dr. Arif Mohammad Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Sarbanand Sonowal (Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways), V Muraleedharan (Union Minister of State for Parliamentary & External Affairs) and Madhu S Nair (CMD of Cochin Shipyard Ltd.) CM Pinarayi Vijayan thanked the PM for visiting the State and dedicating the projects to the country.
During the occasion, PM Modi said that the country’s port cities have developed in the last 10 years. Country’s shipping industry is developing very fast.
PM Modi’s next programme was purely a party programme. PM, as usual, started the speech in Malayalam: “My namaskars to all Keralites”. He said it is a lucky day for him as he could have darshan in Guruvayoor and Thriprayar Mandirs. He said that he had referred to the “Nalamabala darshanam” while speaking on the occasion of the inauguration of Maharshi Valmiki International Airport, Ayodhya. The ritual is carried out in Kerala with utmost devotion. It has got enormous significance in the context of Ayodhya Prana Pratishtha. He told the workers, in Malayalam, that they constituted the backbone of BJP. Then, he pointed out the achievements of his Government one by one. He was addressing the 6000-strong meeting of the ‘BJP Shakthikendra Pramukhs’ at Marine Drive, Kochi, in the afternoon. Prime Minister said to the congregation of booth-level workers that BJP is the only party capable of organising such a large programme. It speaks out that the party workers in Kerala are working that hard. The welfare of the poor is the bottom line for the party. The Government has been implementing it through several schemes.
Prime Minister said that the Government reduced the Income Tax limit and reduced the cost of mobile data and the price of the phone. Twenty-five crore people have been liberated from poverty. People get more employment opportunities in Gulf countries, and the people of Bharat get more respect abroad than in the yesteryears.
PM Modi said that people observe Ramayana Masa in Kerala. He called on the people of Kerala to light Rama Jyoti on January 22 in all Mandir and all houses. He stated that he had observed the vrita prior to the Pran Pratishtha and followed the necessary rituals in this connection. He said he was recently fortunate enough to have darshans in several Mandirs in the country. And, was fortunate to get involved in cleaning job there. He called upon the workers to clean the Mandir premises in their villages, towns and cities.
PM Modi expressed his happiness in seeing thousands of people and party workers in the streets since he reached Kerala, and he is grateful to the people. PM called on the cadres to work hard in their booths. Winning the booths means winning the State. PM Modi’s guarantee should be conveyed to the grassroots level. Workers should maintain constant rapport with the beneficiaries of the schemes. He said, he trusts the workers in Kerala. He said they would succeed in winning the people’s confidence.
BJP State President K Surendran received PM Modi at the venue, presenting ‘bow and arrow’, the legendary weapon of Sri Ram. Prof T J Joseph, whose hand was chopped by the PFI terrorists on July 4, 2010, in the name of blasphemy, attended the BJP meeting addressed by PM Narendra Modi. Savad, the first accused, in the terrorist case, was nabbed by NIA last week. He had been absconding and living in Kannur, the most powerful party bastion of CPM in the State.