Fragrance of Chandan in the Air of Varanasi
Travelling to Varanasi from Delhi is a transition from secular capital to the spiritual capital of India. One hour flight on to the city of Ganges is these days not only spiritual capital but also political hub as the Prime Minister Narendera Modi is entering into field of electoral battle for 2019. No one has dared to announced so far a fight against the doyen of politicians and a politicians who has transformed India. I love going to Ganges time and again as if I have primordial link to it. Way back in eighties I trekked to Gomukh from Gangotri. Earlier I had travelled from Dehradun where my son had graduated from Indian Military academy and that gave me the sense of fulfillment of an obligation of life. Today the river of Kashi was not placed and quiet but crowded by the piligrims and a lot of political workers as Modi had filed nomination to enter into electoral battle from this great city. Where everywhere one notes stink today smell of chandan is filling the air.
How was the city of Varanasi after five years of constant progress and change brought in by the Prime Minister? Seven years back even before Modi started the process of change I had taken hundreds of students to the Assi Ghat and. we cleaned its banks as volunteer service. We were
only demonstrating that citizens too have duty to keep the river clean. Today the ghats are much cleaner and beatified in approach. The roads are excellent and ring road with flyovers has given much more relief to the citizen. A corridor to Kashi Vishwanath temple is being constructed which will make the great temple easy to access and spatial in approach. Entire city and airport and public areas are clean and better organized.
There are critics who say that Ganga is still not clean and free from impurities. It is true that water is gradually improving but it is still not absolutely clean as yet and lot more work has to be done. The unclean matter has collected over years and no one did work to clean it till PM began this project and vast net work of unclean matter from various sources is gradually being tackled.
As you browse through local papers interesting news is splashed prominently on the front page- Mahabalis are unhappy on not finding enough takers. Varanasi and many of cities in the state were run by the goons and they were engaged in UP by the candidates in an election. The situation had changed as due to Chief Minister Yogi’s tough handling and hunting those who perpetrated Gunda raj, the law and order had improved and the goons had no jobs.
No one in Varanasi was interested in discussing prospects of Modi in the current election as now most of the people in the city were confident about the Modi victory. No one had yet announced the match partner. But all of them were keen on the final outcome in the state. Even the most committed BJP leaders confessed in private that coming together the BSP and SP have put the position of BJP at risk of losing many seats. They had the impression that 10-15 seats will be lost to opposition in the final results. That means even then the NDA with BJP dominating would get about 55 -60 seats. UR still might be the largest sear contributor to the NDA. The position of Congress with its two leaders leading the contest did not offer much hope to the party and would end around 2-3.
Going back to Delhi one finds crowds in clubs discussing the final figure of the country and its count. The Talley is debated from 200 to 300 for the NDA.NCP ‘s spokesman Tripathyji had strong view that BJP could not cross 200.In my view it was an assessment from the party view finder and in no case NDA will be much less from the figures of the current figures. But final assessment I will present after further analysis soon.
In Varanasi and in Delhi most of the observers I met were of the view that whatever the exact number of final results of election , the government will be formed by the NDA. Let us wait for a fortnight to hone out the final picture of forecast.
By Prof. NK Singh
International Management Adviser