Prime Minister Narendra Modi adopted a village in his Varanasi parliamentary constituency and exhorted its residents to combine their collective strength to educate the children and ensure hygiene.
Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Varanasi, was accorded a grand welcome at Jayapur village. Village women garlanded him and put a vermillion tika on his forehead.
After a brief interaction with village elders and village head Durga Devi, Modi addressed the enthusiastic gathering, seeking their support in developing the village.
Trashing media reports on the criteria for selecting Jayapur village, the prime minister said the village drew his attention when he came to know that five people had died in a fire here.
“Jo sankat ke samay sambandh bante hain wo rishte chiranjeev hote hain” (The bonds forged during testing times are everlasting),” Modi said.
He then said while the villagers may be expecting grand announcements from him for the village, he will not choose to make them public now and rather do the work. He also sought the support of people in ushering in the change.
“I do not talk big, I was not born like that that. I say small things and do big things,” he said while pointing out that if only tall pronouncements by earlier governments had borne fruits, this village would not have in the poor state it is now.
Modi told the villagers that they should combine their collective strength and put it to good use, like educating the children, ensuring hygiene and making cleanliness a family priority, and celebrating birth of a girl child.
Saying that today in fact the village was adopting him as a parliamentarian and not vice versa, Modi said time had come when the people should realize their strength and rather than merely waiting for government help, should come forward to improve their lot.
Jayapur is a typical Uttar Pradesh village with a population of about 4,200. The population has a mix of Brahmins Musahar, Yadavs, Patels, Bhumihars, Bania, Kumhar and Dalits. There is only one primary school in the village and the lone internediate college is about 10 km away. Incidentally the village has no Muslims.
Modi’s two-day sojourn is his maiden visit to Varanasi after becoming the prime minister in May this year.