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Pradeep Pattanayak

Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is going to poll Tomorrow (Monday), in the last phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. 

Since the holy city has been the centre of attraction since the day the poll dates were announced, OTV team visited the city to feel the poll heat and the impact of all the developmental projects taken up by the double engine governments in general, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project Kashi Vishwanath Corridor in particular, on voters. 

Our team could feel the journey the holy city has taken so far to become Varanasi from Banaras. 

Needless to mention here that Varanasi is famous for Kashi Vishwanath temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. This is the reason why Hindus from far and wide visit the city round the year.  

In order to give the pilgrims a hassle free viewing experience, old and traditional sets of rules at the shrine have meanwhile given place to pilgrim-friendly ones. At the same time, the infrastructure has also witnessed a sea change. At a projected cost of Rs 900 crore, works on the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project are underway. The project was launched in 2019. 

The city’s transformation has influenced the people of Uttar Pradesh immensely. 

“The present magnificent view of the Kashi Vishwanath temple had never been imagined by the people of Banaras, leave alone people from the rest parts of the country. It was a brain child of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give the shrine a divine touch and he delivered on his promise,” said K K Mishra, a UP resident.  

Our team’s next destination was the world class Banaras railway station. The spick and spank platform spoke volumes on the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s implementation in true sense in North India. From the way the station has been developed, it is clear that the political wave is conducive for the ruling party. 

“You can see the outside and inside of the platform to feel how well maintained it is. It stands testimony to the works done by PM Narendra Modi,” said a Varanasi resident.

Even though the city’s name has been changed from Banaras to Varanasi, its Banaras ‘saree’ and Banarasi ‘paan’ are still carrying the city’s tradition and legacy.

Saree showrooms and ‘paan’ shops can be found in every nook and cranny of the city. It proves that people’s love for the quintessential ‘saree’ and ‘pann’ has still been intact. 

“The ‘Katha’ we are using in our pans is prepared by us. The lime is filtered. We take great care in using masalas in our paan, keeping in mind that they should have ayurvedic values and no harmful effects on body,” said a Banarasi betel shop owner. 

A Banarasi silk artisan said they are still using  traditional methods to wave sarees so that the people can feel the same texture and comfort.

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