Gorakhpur: Seers and the various religious orders can play a major role in making India modern and prosperous, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said, noting that many of them have taken up public welfare works like building toilets and providing health care facilities.
"It is the demand of time that lakhs of saints, thousands of orders and hundreds of mathas (monastic establishments) can play a critical role in making India modern and prosperous, in cultivating good values among its people.
"Many are doing that. It is a good force for the country's future," Modi said after unveiling a statue of Mahanth Avaidyanath, the guru of Hindutva leader and party MP from here Yogi Adityanath.
Avaidyanath, a four-time BJP MP, had been in the forefront of the Ayodhya Ram temple movement. He passed away in 2014 and the government had released a stamp to mark his first birth anniversary last year.
Ahead of the crucial UP assembly elections, the Prime Minister is launching a number of developmental projects here.
Noting that all the systems in the country have undergone timely changes, Modi said many sages who were devoted to religious and spiritual works have nowadays attached themselves to cleanliness, building toilets, running eye surgery centres and keeping animals healthy.
Avaidyanath worked for the welfare of society and Adityanath was keeping up with his good works, Modi said.
The statue is housed at the Gorakhnath Temple, of which Avaidyanath was the chief priest and has been succeeded by Adityanath.
"My association with Mahant Avaidyanath ji goes back to the time when I was not in active politics. Heard from him the work done here," the Prime Minister tweeted.
"Our saints and seers, they are very noble and have always been compassionate towards society and the poor," Modi said.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar accompanied Modi at the event held at the temple premises.