BJP president J.P. Nadda launched a nationwide cleanliness drive at temples on Sunday. Mr. Nadda visited Guru Ravidas Temple in Karol Bagh in New Delhi. The initiative by the ruling party focuses on temples and the surrounding locality.
Senior BJP leaders, including Union ministers and chief ministers, picked up the broom across the country as the party looks to build up fervour before the consecration of Lord Ram's idol at the Ayodhya temple on January 22.
Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh chief ministers joined the cleanliness campaign in Ayodhya, Gandhinagar, Jaipur and Ujjain, respectively.
Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw went to a temple in Baleswar, Odisha. Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Meenakshi Lekhi also took part.
"Following the directions of the Prime Minister, the BJP has decided that from Makar Sankranti to January 22, we (party leaders and workers) will conduct a cleanliness campaign at temples and holy premises," Mr. Nadda said as he kicked off the campaign.
Mr. Nadda said every BJP member is taking part and will also be part of 'bhajan-kirtan' till January 22.
The choice of Ravidas temple is important as the saint enjoys a huge following, especially among Dalits.
Union Minister of State for Culture Lekhi posted pictures on X, saying she offered 'shramdaan' at the old Hanuman temple near Connaught Place.
She called upon people to contribute to this "great campaign and celebrate Diwali by keeping our pilgrimage sites clean and lighting Ram Jyoti on January 22".
The BJP will be felicitating people visiting the Ram temple after January 22 and help them with their stay.
The Uttar Pradesh government and several organisations on Sunday launched a state-wide cleanliness drive, which will continue till January 22, the day of the consecration ceremony at the Ayodhya Ram temple.
UP Chief Minister Adityanath took part in the campaign in Ayodhya, while other ministers and public representatives joined the drive elsewhere.
“On the PM’s urging a major cleanliness campaign was started from Shri Ayodhya Dham today,” Mr. Adityanath posted on X.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya was at the Balkeshwar Hanuman Temple in Nirala Nagar in Lucknow. Mr. Maurya swept the floor, picked up garbage and placed it in a cart.
Deputy chief minister, Brajesh Pathak, participated in the cleanliness drive at Dakshinmukhi Hanuman Temple in Lucknow.
In Gorakhpur, a cleanliness campaign was also organised at the Gorakhnath Temple Complex to make 'Khichdi Fair' a zero-waste event.
BJP CMs get busy
Mr. Adityanath inaugurated the Gorakhpur Municipal Corporation's temporary camp office at the temple complex, the RRR Centre and the automatic vending machine installed by the GMC to provide cloth bags to keep the fair plastic-free.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha offered prayers at the Jagannath temple in Agartala and joined a cleanliness drive.
"Today, I joined the cleanliness drive at Jagannath temple here along with party workers following the prime minister's appeal. I urge people to join cleanliness drives in all the temples," he wrote on X. BJP state president Rajib Bhattacharjee also took part at Ramakrishna Mission Ashram in Agartala.
Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur visited Kalibari Temple in Shimla.
"After a struggle of 50 years, the Ram temple is being formally consecrated on January 22 and Ayodhya is being developed like a global city. There is an atmosphere of enthusiasm and joy in the entire country," the BJP leader told the media.
Mr. Thakur took aim at the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. He said there was no need to unite 'Bharat' as the country is united and moving ahead under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Sharma visited the Hans Vihar Temple in Mansarovar in Jaipur. Mr. Sharma appealed to devotees and local people to take special care of cleanliness in temples.
In another programme, Rajasthan BJP president CP Joshi along with other party officials conducted a cleanliness drive in Jaipur.
Mr. Modi called for the campaign, as one of the BJP’s key promises comes to fruition with the consecration ceremony.
The Prime Minister was himself part of a cleanliness drive at a temple in Maharashtra during his visit to the state on January 12.
With the opening of temple to devotees, the party hopes to reap political dividends in the Lok Sabha polls expected in April-May amid a general sense of enthusiasm in a large section of people over the development.
Mr. Modi has called upon citizens to celebrate the consecration ceremony like Diwali by lighting up diyas at their homes and neighbourhood temples.