Modi tries to woo Odias, seeks Jagannath’s blessings

Puri:  Looking to woo the people of Odisha, BJP National Election Campaign Committee Chairman Narendra Modi on Tuesday invoked blessings of Lord Jagannath here while lauding the contribution of Odia people for the economic development of Gujarat.

"I respect the contribution of the Odia people who shed sweat for the development of Gujarat," Modi told reporters in Odia language after performing pujas at Gundicha Temple and Sri Mandir here.

Chanting 'Jai Jagannath' and 'Bande Utkal Janani', the BJP heavyweight clad in a white kurta with a red scarf on his shoulder, said he came here from Somnath Dham to seek blessings of Lord Jagannath for the overall development of the nation.

Modi, however, did not utter a word about any political party, including Congress. Stating that he was lucky to have darshan of Lord Jagannath, Modi pointed out there were many similarities between Odisha and Gujarat.

"While you are located in the coast, Gujarat too is a coastal state. You have a Sun temple at Konark where the first sun ray touches India, while Gujarat is the place to get the last ray during sunset," he said.

Modi's chaste Odia speech inspired party men present in front of the 12th century shrine who repeated the words uttered by the Gujarat Chief Minister.

'Jai Jagannath and Bande Utkal Jajani' rent the air in Puri wherever Modi visited.

After having darshan of the Trinity at Gundicha Temple and Maa Bimala and Maha Laxmi at Sri Mandir, Modi went to Puri's titular head King Dibyasingha Deb's palace where both had discussion for about 10 minutes. Neither Modi nor the king elaborated on the discussion.

Later, Modi met Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati and had a discussion for about 30 minutes.

The Shankaracharya advised Modi to sincerely work for the overall development of the country as "no political party is seriously working for the country's development", he said.

Modi, who arrived here amidst tight security, first went to Gundicha Temple where Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra were being worshipped during the Rath Yatra. He spent about 20 minutes inside the temple and offered puja to the Trinity.