Ayodhya Blessings and Bow-Arrow in Hand, Shinde Aims to Turn Maharashtra Saffron in 2024

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde with bow and arrow during event in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. (Image: News18)

Shinde, who is on his maiden visit to Ayodhya after becoming the chief minister in June last year, offered prayers at the Ram temple

Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, on his first visit to Ayodhya after becoming the CM, said he felt energized after receiving the blessings of Ram Lalla and the bow and arrow symbol from the saints and seers. In an interview with News18, he stated that he would take this energy back to Maharashtra.

“I have received the blessings of Ram Lalla today and have been given the bow and arrow symbol by the saints and seers. I will take this energy back to Maharashtra. It’s an important day, and it has given me a lot of energy,” he said.

Shinde, who is on his maiden visit to Ayodhya after becoming the chief minister in June last year, offered prayers at the Ram temple earlier in the day. His deputy Devendra Fadnavis and BJP MP Brijbhushan Sharan Singh were also present for the occasion. Shinde was also accompanied to the temple town in Uttar Pradesh by thousands of Shiv Sainiks.

The chief minister thanked the organisers for the “wonderful” event. “It feels great to visit Ayodhya for the first time as CM. I had visited this place previously as an organiser, but now it’s the first time as CM. I have thanked everyone for the wonderful organisation of the event,” he said.

In his address to a gathering, Shinde mentioned that Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray had a dream to construct a “grand divine Ram Mandir in Ayodhya”, a dream that was fulfilled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the commencement of the temple construction on the holy land.

‘Saffron Flag Will be Unfurled all Over Maharashtra in 2024’

He further vowed the ideology of his party and that of the BJP is the same and they will unfurl the saffron flag all over the state next year. “Our party’s role is clear. The Shiv Sena has an alliance with the BJP. Our ideology, which is Hindutva, is the same. We will go to our state with new energy from Ayodhya and serve the people. In 2024, the Shiv Sena and the BJP’s ‘bhagva’ (saffron flag) will be unfurled in the entire state,” he said.

Shinde said the entire atmosphere from Lucknow to Ayodhya has become “Ram-mai” (filled with slogans of Lord Ram) and he is happy that he has come to the holy town of Ayodhya with the “bow and arrow”, the Shiv Sena’s poll symbol.

Shinde expressed his satisfaction after paying his respects to Ramlalla and inspecting the progress of the temple’s construction and said he was pleased to see the realization of the aspirations of “Hindu Hriday Samrat” Balasaheb Thackeray and crores of devotees of Lord Ram.

Ahead of the planned “maha arti” in the evening, Shinde had said “In the evening, there will be ‘aarti’ on the banks of the Sarayu river and there is a programme of taking the blessings of seers. Many people are a little allergic to this. I will say only one thing, the Ram mandir and Ayodhya are not political issues for the Shiv Sena and the BJP. It is a matter of our faith and belief,” he said.

According to an earlier report, during the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s visit to Ayodhya, logs of ‘sag’ (teak) wood will be donated as a token of the state’s contribution to the construction of the Ram temple.

Dinner Diplomacy With Yogi

After his visit to Ayodhya, Shinde will have dinner with his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow and then return to Mumbai.

On questions regarding the scheduled dinner diplomacy with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, he said it is a “crucial meeting where we will discuss some significant issues.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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