NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his two-day visit to Uttarakhand today with a visit to Kedarnath shrine. The prime minister is also expected to offer prayers at Badrinath tomorrow before returning to Delhi in the afternoon.
Dressed in a traditional pahari outfit, PM Modi offered prayers at the temple for around half-an-hour and undertook circumambulation of the shrine. PM Modi will meditate and take stock of the ongoing development works in the temple town later in the day, official said.
The prime minister’s visit to the holy shrine comes a day before the last phase of the marathon Lok Sabha elections. Fifty nine parliamentary constituencies, including Varanasi, will go to polls in the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections and the results will be announced four days later, on May 23.
The Election Commission is learnt to have given its permission while “reminding” the prime minister”s office that the model code of conduct is still in force. “The visit is official so it can be undertaken. But the office of the prime minister has been reminded that the poll code is still in force,” news agency PTI quoting an official in the poll body as saying.
Keeping in view of PM Modi’s arrival, security has been tightened near the shrine which is located at 11,755 ft above the sea level.
The Himalayan shrine, dedicated to Shiva, has been visited multiple times by PM Modi during his current term.
In November last year, Prime Minister Modi had visited the Kedarnath shrine during Diwali.
In 2017, he paid visits to the temple twice, once in May after its gate had opened following a six-month winter break and again in October, before the temple again closed for winters.
This year, the portals of the Kedarnath temple in the Garhwal Himalayan range of Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district were opened to pilgrims on May 9 after a six-month-long winter break.