LUCKNOW: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, along with Shiv Sena MPs and MLAs, on Saturday flew down to Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow, from where they will visit the State’s temple town on Sunday. The Shiv Sainiks were welcomed by Yogi government ministers at the Lucknow Airport amid fanfare.
“This is not a political visit. I keep visiting Ayodhya, but this is the first time I’ve come here as a CM. All party leaders wanted to take blessings from Lord Ram. I want to thank Yogi ji and his ministers who were present here to welcome us,” Shinde said.
The Chief Minister will camp overnight at the Government Guest House in Lucknow, from where he will visit Ayodhya on Sunday and perform ‘aarti’ on the banks of the Saryu river, according to an itinerary circulated among media persons.
“Sadhus have organised programmes in Ayodhya and we will participate in them. In the past, Sadhus were killed in Palghar, but now we will protect our Sadhus. A programme is organised in Palghar too, I will attend that as well. In BJP-Shiv Sena govt, law and order will be maintained”, Shinde had told reporters in Mumbai earlier in the day.
The itinerary further stated that CM Shinde will leave on Sunday to the Shri Ram Katha Helipad Park in Ayodhya and will then go to the hotel by car. “CM will depart from the hotel to Ram Mandir by car. He will also visit the ongoing construction site of Ram Mandir”, it added.
The Shiv Sena leaders, onboard the flight, chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shivaji’, and ‘Shiv Sena Zindabad’ slogans before setting off from Mumbai. This is Shinde’s first visit to Ayodhya after being sworn in as Chief Minister of Maharashtra in June last year.
While addressing the press conference in Mumbai earlier, Shinde said, “We will be going to Ayodhya for Lord Ram’s blessings on April 9 and it’s a matter of belief and sentiments, we will perform Aarti… I still remember that Dharmveer Anand Dhigana had sent a silver brick with Kar Sevaks, so we have old bonding with Ram Lalla… we will be visiting the temple also”.
“We (Shiv Sena BJP) wanted to go to Ayodhya after getting the Bow and Arrow symbol. We will also meet UP CM Yogi Aditynath. We will perform Aarti at the Saryu River,” he had added. (ANI)