On Day 2 of PM Modi’s Kanniyakumari Visit, Fiery War of Words Erupts Between BJP and Opposition.

Modi made similar trips following the conclusion of election campaigns in both 2014 and 2019. In 2014, he visited Shivaji’s Pratapgarh, and in 2019, he traveled to a cave near the Kedarnath temple.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, for a three-day meditation retreat following the end of the Lok Sabha election campaign. On Friday, he began his visit by offering ‘arghya’ to the rising sun at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. Modi’s 45-hour meditation, from Thursday evening to June 1, takes place at Dhyan Mandapam, where Swami Vivekananda is believed to have had a divine vision of ‘Bharat Mata’ in 1892.

This marks the Prime Minister’s ninth visit to Tamil Nadu since January, but it is his first time staying at the memorial. Modi also made similar trips following the election campaigns in 2014 and 2019, visiting Shivaji’s Pratapgarh in 2014 and a cave near the Kedarnath temple in 2019.

Political Controversy

Prime Minister Modi’s spiritual visit to Kanyakumari has faced criticism from opposition parties, including the Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the TMC would file a complaint with the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding PM Modi’s meditation in Kanyakumari. “We will complain. He can meditate, but it cannot be aired on television… Does anyone have to bring cameras to meditate?” Mamata questioned.

Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel also criticized the Prime Minister’s visit, stating, “What was the need to remember God? Kangana Ranaut made him God, and Sambit Patra says that God is PM Modi’s ‘bhakt’. Since campaigning is not allowed after 6 pm today, PM Modi has gone there for publicity.”

A delegation of Congress leaders, including Randeep Surjewala, Abhishek Singhvi, and Syed Naseer Hussain, met with the Election Commission and submitted a memorandum addressing this issue. They also presented 27 other complaints alleging model code violations by the BJP in recent days.

Countering the opposition, BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla criticized the INDIA bloc for being “anti-Sanatan” and for questioning Modi’s meditation.

“What has happened to Congress and the INDIA bloc? If the Prime Minister says something, they have a problem. If he goes to the Vivekananda Rock Memorial for meditation without saying anything, even then, they have a problem,” Poonawalla stated. He described the opposition’s actions as reflecting their “frustration” and “anti-Sanatan” mindset.

“These opposition leaders opposed the Ram Temple, labelled it as useless, and claimed there was no relevance to Lord Ram. They used terms like Hindu terror and called Sanatan a disease. Now, they have an issue with a Hindu meditating peacefully and will issue fatwas?” Poonawalla questioned.

Addressing allegations that the meditation violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), Poonawalla asserted that PM Modi is not in breach of the MCC. “The Prime Minister is not campaigning or promoting anything, he is not making political statements, nor is this a political gathering,” he explained.

Opposition Claims and PM’s Tamil Nadu Visit

BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla addressed opposition claims that PM Modi’s meditation violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and should not be covered by the media. “In today’s age of social media, everyone has a smartphone and data costs have fallen by 90 percent. If someone is making a video, will you stop them?” he questioned.

PM’s Tamil Nadu Visit

After arriving from Thiruvananthapuram by helicopter on Thursday, Modi visited the Bhagavathi Amman temple, then traveled to the Vivekananda Rock Memorial by ferry. He began his 45-hour meditation, which is set to last until June 1.

Dressed in a dhoti and a white shawl, Modi prayed at the temple and circumambulated the ‘garbhagriha’. Priests performed a special ‘aarti’ and presented him with temple ‘prasad’, including a shawl and a framed photograph of the temple’s presiding deity.

Following this, Modi reached the rock memorial via a state government-operated ferry and commenced his meditation at the ‘Dhyan Mandapam’.

Before commencing his meditation, Modi spent some time standing on the stairs leading to the mandapam, taking in the breathtaking views of the sea surrounding the memorial. He then showered flowers on the portraits of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and mother Sri Sarada Devi, paying floral tributes to Swami Vivekananda, whose life-size statue adorns the mandapam on a high pedestal. Modi later began his sadhana (spiritual practice) in the mandapam.

As he prepares to depart on June 1, Modi is expected to visit the Thiruvalluvar statue, located next to the memorial. Both the memorial and the 133-ft statue were constructed on tiny, separate islets, resembling mound-like rocky formations in the sea.

All necessary arrangements, including stringent security measures, have been put in place for Modi’s 45-hour stay at the renowned memorial named after the revered Hindu saint.

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