Written byShalini Ojha ·
All of us have seen how devotees go to Kedarnath. Holding sticks in their hands they await their turns to pray at the holy shrine of Lord Shiva.
What most of us never saw was a red-carpet being rolled out for one man (no brownies for guessing who he is!).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned a pilgrimage into a bigger photo event than Cannes Film Festival.
Let's decode his highly-publicized visit, shall we?
PM Modi is on a visit to Uttarakhand for two days. He reached Kedarnath on Saturday and is expected to visit Badrinath on Sunday.
The BJP leader chose these two shrines to end the high-pitched election campaign, and naturally, Opposition parties saw red.
They claimed he was violating Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by using religion as a means to garner votes.
PM Modi landed at a special helipad in Kedarnath at 9:30 AM on Saturday, and was taken to a safe house near the main shrine.
The temple of Lord Shiva is situated at an altitude of 11,500 feet and PM Modi walked for some 500 feet to reach an isolated cave, for meditation.
He meditated for 17 hours and then spoke to reporters.
PM Modi's big 'dhyaan and saddhna' exercise before May 23 results, was bound to raise eyebrows. More so, because the cave where he meditated wasn't so isolated after all.
According to an India Today report, the cave had Wi-Fi and telephone facilities, as well as an attached toilet with basic amenities.
The 10*8 feet cave also nestled a wooden cot.
The well-lit cave, which was built after cutting rocks, also offers a mesmerizing view of the temple. Not only this, but the cave also has a CCTV system which allows security personnel to monitor it.
An official from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) official told TOI the cave was ready last year but remained locked.
Perhaps they were waiting for the high-profile 'devotee'!
Now, here's the thing: PM Modi's defenders might argue that there is nothing wrong in spending time in a cave which is specially designed for meditation.
It is not like the cave was built just for him. Other devotees will visit it too.
Yes! We get it. But will other devotees be clicked while they shut their eyes to connect with the Almighty?
Getting clicked inside the cave isn't only the problem here. PM Modi's entire trip to Kedarnath was dotted by photographers.
Now, one may argue that since he is the Prime Minister, photographers will follow him everywhere.
But must he get clicked when he is bowing his head inside the shrine?
He just took his love for the camera a bit too far.
After spending 17 hours in meditation, PM Modi came out of the cave earlier today. Speaking to the press, he thanked the Election Commission for "a two-day reprieve to spend time in solitude."
He added he didn't ask for anything from God, not even "victory in elections".
He said all he did was reflect on his work which he has done.
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