Today I embark on a unique and memorable journey from the land of Somnath to the city of Lord Vishwanath. Later today I will be filing my nomination papers from Varanasi as the BJP candidate. I would like to thank the leadership of the Party for giving me this opportunity to contest elections from this city that has such a rich history and culture. I bow to the Party Karyakartas who have been working tirelessly on the ground from the time my nomination was announced and the Karyakartas and well-wishers from all over India who have supported me in the last few months.
It was said about Varanasi:
“Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”(Mark Twain)
Varanasi is the cradle of India’s glorious culture, a confluence of tradition, history, culture and harmony. This is the blessed land of the Sankat Mochan temple. The spiritual power of this land is exceptional. It drew people from all over the world, who came to this land in search of peace and Moksha. It was in Sarnath, that Gautama Buddha delivered his first sermon after attaining Enlightenment. Varanasi is the birthplace of the venerable Sant Ravidas. It was in Benaras that Mahatma Kabir was born, lived and shared his wisdom. Mirza Ghalib described Benaras as ‘Kaba-E-Hindustan’ and ‘Chirag-E-Dair’ or the light of the world. When Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya had to select a place to set up a centre of learning, it was not a surprise that he chose Benaras. No mention of Varanasi is complete without remembering Ustad Bismillah Khan, arguably the greatest symbol of Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb. Ustad Bismillah Khan Sahab’s love for Varanasi is legendary. I was very happy when Ustad Bismillah Khan was conferred the Bharat Ratna by Atal ji in 2001.
Truly, there is something special about Varanasi and its people. इस देवभूमि का हर निवासीअपने अन्दर कहीं न कहीं देवत्व लिए हुए है.
With the blessings of Lord Vishwanath and inspired by the legacy of a glorious past, we set out to create a magnificent future for Varanasi.
We envision Varanasi as a World Heritage Site that is able to draw both devotees and those who wish to understand and absorb India’s culture. This means creating state-of-the-art tourist and infrastructure facilities for Varanasi. And it is my firm belief that once we are able to give the required impetus to tourism, it will not only bring more tourists but also enhance the livelihood of the poorest of the poor. More tourists means more income for those associated with temples, those who are living on the Ghats, those who ride the ferries on the Ganga…the entire town and surrounding areas will receive a much needed facelift.
Ganga is the lifeline of Varanasi and is at the core of our identity- She is our Mother. Unfortunately, governments have not been able to devote the attention that should have been given to Ganga. The condition of the Ganga in several parts of UP is pitiable. We can’t let this go on anymore! Need of the hour is to work towards cleaning the Ganga and restoring it to its previous glory. In 1986 the Government of the day brought the Ganga Action Plan but it merely remained a plan, the action was missing. Budgets were allocated but the money was never used for the intended purpose. The condition of the Varuna too is similar. Now is the time for urgent action to solve this anomaly!
And when I talk about my commitment to clean the Ganga, it is not a mere promise.When I took over as CM in 2001 the condition of Sabarmati was similar. It was better known for hosting circuses and children playing cricket. Switch to 2014 and things are very different! We have brought water from the Narmada and now water flows through the Sabarmati. A world class Sabarmati River Front was created, which has emerged as a popular recreation and cultural spot in Ahmedabad. With the blessings of Baba Bholenath, this is what we intend to replicate in Varanasi.
It is not only the Ganga that has become the victim of sheer negligence. We are firm in our commitment to address the issues of cleanliness in Varanasi so that we can give the citizens of Varanasi a clean and green city. We will focus on solid waste management right from collecting the waste to treating it. Similarly, the poor waste disposal practices over the years have not served the people of Varanasi well. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that such occurrences are history within a very short period of time. Within a fixed timeframe, the problems of solid waste management, sewer and chemical waste will be successfully mitigated.
The weavers of Varanasi are an integral part of the city’s history, present and future. Unfortunately, due to apathy of the governments in Delhi and Lucknow their work has suffered. It is my firm resolve to infuse this sector with latest technology and qualitative value addition so that the weavers of Varanasi become our pride at the world level. From ensuring that they get quality raw material to better marketing of their products, it is my resolve to ensure that they stand on their own feet with pride and their future generations have a bright future.
A few days ago something very disturbing came to my light. In a village near Varanasi a high voltage line fell due to which a few people including women were injured. I was surprised and saddened to know that the injured did not receive timely medical help and the authorities showed no concern. This is a symptom of a larger decay across UP and this is the decay that we want to end.
Friends, today as I go to Varanasi, I seek your support and blessings. Bless me so that I can restore this glorious city to its prime and so that I can bring a sea of change in the lives of people of Varanasi and Poorvanchal so that this region once again becomes the focal point of our nation’s development and our proud culture.