Sagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Saturday lay the foundation stone for a Rs 100-crore temple dedicated to 14th century mystic poet and social reformer Sant Ravidas in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar district, where he will also address a public meeting, a state BJP minister said.This will be PM’s second visit to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled state, where assembly polls are due by the year-end, in just over a month.
On July 1, Modi interacted with tribal leaders, women who were members of self-help groups and young football players at Pakaria village in Shahdol district.
“Modiji will arrive in Khajuraho from New Delhi and take a helicopter to reach the Badtuma area in Sagar district around 2 pm to lay the foundation stone for a temple (dedicated to Sant Ravidas) and a museum coming up at a cost Rs 100 crore,” MP Cooperative and Public Services Minister Arvind Bhadoria told PTI over the phone on Friday.
Half an hour later, he will reach the venue of the public meeting near the Dhana airstrip, about 20 km from Badtuma, said Bhadoria, who is also the guardian minister of Sagar district located in north-east Madhya Pradesh.
The BJP is expecting up to 2 lakh people to attend the PM’s rally and the foundation laying ceremony for the temple dedicated to Sant Ravidas, who enjoys a nationwide following, especially among a section of Dalits.
The two programmes will also mark the culmination of the ruling party’s ongoing ‘Samrasta (harmony) Yatras’, seen as an attempt by the saffron outfit to reach out to Dalits ahead of the crucial polls.
“Five such yatras started from different parts of the state on July 25. The participants are bringing handful of soil from 53,000 villages and water from 315 water bodies, including sacred rivers. The yatra will reach Sagar on August 11 evening,” Bhadoria said.
Between 1.50 lakh and 2 lakh people are expected at the rally and the foundation laying function, he said.
The BJP has taken out the yatras to connect with different sections of society, especially Dalits. MP has 35 assembly seats, of the total 230, reserved for Scheduled Castes and of these, the BJP won 18 in the last elections, while the Congress bagged 17.
The saffron party is making attempts to strengthen its base among Dalits. Some time back, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government built a Rs 3.5-crore Sant Ravidas Temple in the holy town of Maihar in Satna district.
Dalit followers of Sant Ravidas, one of the most renowned figures of the bhakti movement in medieval India, form the largest chunk of the SC population in the state.
The BJP had put up a good show in the 2018 polls in the impoverished Bundelkhand region which consists of six districts – Sagar, Chattarpur, Tikamgarh, Niwari, Damoh and Panna – and accounts for 26 assembly seats.
In the last assembly polls, the BJP won 15 seats in Bundelkhand, while the Congress had to contend with 9. One seat each went to the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. In Sagar district, which has eight seats, the BJP won six and the Congress two in 2018.