Modi asked to seek divine help to break Varanasi visit jinx

BJP leaders come up with ‘foolproof’ solution.

When Narendra Modi filed his nomination in Varanasi for the Lok Sabha elections last year, he said the Ganga had called him to the city. Now, it seems, the ‘Kotwal of Kashi’ wants to see his permit to visit the holy city.

After the cancellation of three visits to Varanasi because of unforeseen circumstances, local BJP leaders are hoping that the Prime Minister will succeed in breaking the jinx this time.

They have come up with what they think is a foolproof solution. When Mr. Modi visits Varanasi on Friday, they want him to pay obeisance at the temple of Kaal Bhairav, considered Kotwal (an honorary police chief) of Kashi (Varanasi). The local people believe that unless you bow before the Kotwal, you cannot stay in the city.

According to Laxmanacharya, a BJP member of the Legislative Council, a request for a visit to the temple has been sent to Mr. Modi’s constituency office in the city and to the Prime Minister’s Office in Delhi.

Even Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal, while on a visit to the city last month, was informed of it.

“Local sentiments are connected to the belief that the Prime Minister needs to visit the Kaal Bhairav temple to make his visit here successful,” Mr. Laxmanacharya told The Hindu.

Shrikant Mishra, one of the main priests at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, who officiated the rituals when Mr. Modi visited the temple after winning the general election, says the belief about the Kaal Bhairav temple is a “shastriya parampara” or classical one.

“Kaal Bhairavji is considered Dandapani or one who can mete out punishment, therefore anyone who visits Kashi has to pay obeisance to him first. If the BJP leadership here has sent a word to the Prime Minister, it is not wrong,” he said.

Mr. Modi’s trips to his constituency have been cancelled for various reasons in the past few months. First, it was Cyclone Hudhud in October last. Then, heavy rains prevented his public meetings in June, and finally, the death of a worker at the venue where he would have addressed a rally forced its cancellation in July this year.

“I am aware of the suggestions sent by the party’s local leadership, but I cannot confirm whether it has been accepted,” U.P. BJP president Lakshmikant Bajpai said.