Prime Minister Narendra Modi will tomorrow lay the foundation stone for a Rs 100-crore temple dedicated to 14th century mystic poet and social reformer Sant Ravidas in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar district. He will also address a public meeting there, sources said.
The temple will be built in the Nagara style across 10,000 square feet. A museum will also be constructed at the spot to exhibit the works and personality of Saint Ravidas.
Four galleries will be set-up in the museum, in which his path of devotion, contribution to the Nirgun cult, his philosophy, and his literature will be provided. Apart from the library, a Sangat Hall (meeting hall), Jal Kund (water reservoir), and Bhakt Niwas (accommodation for devotees) will also be built.
Devotees and scholars of Saint Ravidas from India and abroad are expected to flock to Bhakt Niwas, and be inspired from the life of the Saint. An eatery will be constructed on 15,000 square feet. The temple will have two grand entrances, CCTV cameras, and lighting arrangements.
Dalit followers of Sant Ravidas, one of the most renowned figures of the bhakti movement in the medieval India, form a sizeable chunk of the SC population in the state.
It will be the Prime Minister’s fifth visit to poll-bound MP in less than five months. Dalits account for around 20 to 25% of the population in Sagar, which is part of the Bundelkhand region.
The BJP is making attempts to strengthen its base among Dalits. The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government built a Rs 3.5 crore Sant Ravidas Temple in the holy town of Maihar in Satna district some time back.
On August 13, Congress national president Malikarjun Kharge is expected to address a mega rally in the same Sagar district.
Dalits make up 16% of the population in the state. Out of the total 230 seats, 35 are reserved for SCs, the majority of which are in the Bundelkhand and the neighbouring Gwalior-Chambal and Vindhya regions. In the 2013 elections, when the BJP won 165 seats, it won 28, or 80%, of these 35 seats, while the Congress only managed four, followed by the BSP with three. However, in the 2018 elections, the BJP’s score on the 35 SC reserved seats decreased to just 18, while the Congress’ total increased more than fourfold to 17 seats.
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