PM Modi's promise of cleaning & beautifying Varanasi doesn't appear to be an empty one

A lot of it is dirty work. But I am up to the task," declared Narendra Modi a year ago when he descended on Varanasi after deciding to contest the Lok Sabha polls from the holy city.

He wasn't exaggerating when he called it "dirty work". Solid waste, liquid waste, paan stains, silt and garbage from households are as conspicuous in Varanasi as its temples and ghats that lead to the banks of the river Ganga. 

Cleaning up and beautifying India's spiritual capital was one of Modi's biggest electoral promises to the people of Varanasi. A year later, it doesn't appear to be an empty one. 

"Look how Assi Ghat (the southernmost of the 84 ghats of Varanasi which is known to accommodate over 20,000 people during festivals like Shivratri) looks today - as clean as a new one. Modi is here and changes are visible. There may be some delay in work but transformation of Varanasi looks inevitable," says Praveen Kumar, an employee of Banaras Mercantile Bank, whose T-shirt with Mai Narendra Damodardas Modi emblazoned all over doesn't exactly leave you wondering about his political leanings. 

There are those like Deepak Madhok who runs the Sunbeam chain of schools in the city who will tell you that the cleaning of Assi Ghat began before Modi chose Varanasi as his constituency. "Our school kids were working on the cleanliness of the ghats on a war footing since September while Modi came in December," avers Madhok. "When our boys and girls were doing the work on Assi Ghat, not a single BJP man visited the place and the moment Modi entered Banaras, throngs of them came in overnight and flew away with all the credit."

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