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Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Belur Math, meet his guru Swami Atmasthanad Maharaj

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

During his visit to Kolkata, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also pay a call to Swami Atmasthanad Maharaj, the current head monk of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission Order in Belur Math. The 97-year-old Maharaj has been unwell for quite some time now, and it is most likely that the PM would have to meet him at the hospital itself.

It is a known fact that Modi is a devout follower of the Mission and its ascetic ideals. The last time he had paid a visit to Swami Atmasthanad was in the year 2013.

When Modi led BJP through a whopping victory in the Lok Sabha elections last year, he had received an invitation from Swami Ji to visit Belur Math. Swami Atmasthanad had written in a letter to Modi, “I am eagerly looking forward to your visit to Belur Math as the Prime Minister of India. . .I am happy to learn that you have got a thumping majority. Sri Ramakrishna has given you the opportunity to serve the people of India irrespective of caste, creed and religion.”

The Prime Minister has often been criticized for being aligned towards Hindutva philosophy and discriminating other religions. His visit to Belur Math can be read as an attempt to move above this censure as the architectural design of the Ramakrishna Temple is famous for symphonizing the diversity of the Indian religions. The structure of the establishment, if seen from different spots, resembles that of a temple, a mosque and a church. The architectural designs of various religions have been the inspiration of the temple at Belur Math. For example, the main entrance sought inspiration from the Buddhist style of architecture whereas the structure over it is based on the building style of Hindu temples. The ground plan is in the shape of the Christian Cross, while the windows and the balconies emanate from the Hindu and Islamic style.

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PM Modi holds Swami Atmasthanad in high esteem and in the words of Subirananda Maharaj, Modi “treats him as his guru. When both of them were in Rajkot, Modi used to go to him to seek guidance”.

Even while taking his oath as the Prime Minister of India, according to a Times of India report, Narendra Modi kept a ‘’prasadi’ flower in his coat pocket, which came along the invitation letter sent by Swami Ji. Therefore, through this visit, he is keeping up his promise and paying homage to his guru while giving out a hint towards his belief in the unity of religions.

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India’s President ‘Ram Nath Kovind’ Designates ‘Narendra Modi’ as PM for Second Term

The Election Commission announced that the BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament

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Newly elected lawmakers from India's ruling alliance led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party raise their hands in support of Narendra Modi's election as their leader in New Delhi, May 25, 2019. VOA

India’s president on Saturday appointed Narendra Modi as the prime minister soon after newly elected lawmakers from the ruling alliance, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, elected him as their leader following a thunderous victory in national elections.

President Ram Nath Kovind said in a tweet that he also asked Modi to forward the names of those to be appointed as ministers in his government and the date for the swearing-in for his second five-year term as prime minister. Modi and some leaders of his alliance met the president on Saturday.

Media reports said Modi was likely to be sworn in by Kovind on Thursday.

BJP president Amit Shah announced Modi’s name as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance in a meeting of the lawmakers in the Central Hall of Parliament in New Delhi.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, second right, hugs senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader M.M. Joshi as L.K. Advani, left, watches after Modi’s election as ruling alliance leader, in New Delhi, May 25, 2019. VOA

The Election Commission announced that the BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, after the official vote count from the six-week-long election was completed on Friday. That is well beyond the simple majority a party in India needs to form a government.

The BJP’s top rival, the Indian National Congress led by Rahul Gandhi, won 52 seats, and the All India Trinamool Congress led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee won 22.

Unity movement

Critics say Modi and his party have applied divisive policies and used a Hindu-first strategy. But Modi said after Saturday’s vote that “this election has become a movement of social unity.” “It is generally said that the election divides, creates distances, makes walls. But the 2019 elections have worked to break the walls,” he said in his address.

On Friday, Modi met with his outgoing Cabinet ministers and later presented his resignation to the country’s president. The president asked the officials to continue to serve until the new government assumes office.

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The Election Commission announced that the BJP won 303 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament. VOA

Gandhi, whose great-grandfather, grandmother and father were all prime ministers, personally conceded his seat, long a Congress party bastion, to his BJP rival, India’s textiles minister, marking the end of an era for modern India’s most powerful political dynasty.

Counting of the estimated 600 million ballots cast over six weeks of staggered polling — the world’s largest democratic exercise — began early Thursday.

ALSO READ: Here’s How TikTok Made PM Modi Popular Among Young Voters

Hindu-first politics

The victory was largely seen as a referendum on Modi’s Hindu-first politics that some observers say have bred intolerance toward Muslims and other religious minorities, as well as his muscular stance on neighboring Pakistan, with whom India nearly went to war earlier this year after suicide attacks killed more than 40 Indian security officials in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Modi effectively used the incident as a major campaign tool after responding to the attack with an airstrike in Pakistan that triggered nationalist sentiments, with the BJP saying Modi is the right person to ensure India’s national security. (VOA)