Pune: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde along with his wife performed a 'maha pooja' of Lord Vitthal and Goddess Rukmini at a famous temple in Pandharpur town on Sunday on the occasion of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi' and sought God's blessings for the prosperity of every section of society.
As a long-standing tradition, the sitting chief minister every year offers prayers at the temple dedicated to Lord Vitthal at Pandharpur in Solapur district, located over 200 km from Pune and around 400 km from here, on the 'Ashadhi Ekadashi' which being being celebrated on Sunday.
Eknath Shinde, who was sworn in as the CM of Maharashtra on June 30 this year, along with his wife Lata Shinde prayed to God that each and every section of society, including farmers, labourers, warkaris (devotees of Lord Vitthal) and business community, be happy and prosperous.
The chief minister's son MP Shrikant Shinde and the latter's family also accompanied them on the occasion.
A 52-year-old farmer, Murli Navle, and his wife Jijabai Navale, from Beed district, performed the traditional pooja along with the CM and his family.
The farmer's family has been participating in the Pandharpur wari pilgrimage since 1987.
After offering prayers, the CM addressed a gathering in the temple premises and said the Maharashtra government is committed to stop farmer suicides, for which all possible efforts will be made.
"With the blessings of Lord Vitthal, all the sorrows and hardships of people will go away as this government belongs to the common man. Be it, farmers, workers, people from all sections of the society should feel that this government belongs to them. We will try to create such a sentiment through our work," he said.
The CM said he was fortunate that he got the opportunity to perform the pooja this year.
"For the last two years, the wari pilgrimage could not take place on foot due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this time, over 10 lakh warkaris came to seek the blessings of Lord Vitthal," he said.
CM hopes the covid situation gets resolved
He expressed hope that the COVID-19 crisis will go away and the problems being faced by the state will get resolved.
It will be the state government's endeavour to take the state on the path of progress, all-round development and to bring "acche din" (good days) for the people, he said.
State is experiencing good rains
The state is experiencing good rains, though a little late, he noted.
"Wherever heavy rains are being witnessed, the state machinery is active to ensure there is no loss of life or property. If good rains take place this year, farmers will have a good harvest," he said.
The Jalyukt Shivar scheme (for water conservation), which had been discontinued, has been resumed now, he said.
"The state government is exploring how rainwater from rivers in western part of the state, which goes waste into the sea, can be diverted to drought-affected regions of Marathwada. I am sure that with the blessings of Lord Vitthal, we will be successful in this endeavour," he said.
CM and Deputy CM met Prime Minister on Saturday
The CM said he and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met Prime Minister Narendra Modi (on Saturday).
"He (PM Modi) told us that the Centre would extend all help for the development of the state and asked to implement good schemes to bring 'acche din' for people," Eknath Shinde said.
The CM said he got the opportunity to perform the pooja of Lord Vitthal because of the blessings of people of the state.
"With the thoughts of (late Sena founder) Balasaheb Thackeray, the teachings of Anand Dighe, the blessings of all the people and the support of 50 MLAs (who along with him had rebelled against the Sena leadership last month), I got to see this day," he said.
PM Modi's visit to Dehu in Pune last month
Talking about PM Modi's visit to Dehu in Pune last month and the 'Palkhi Marg' (wari pilgrimage route) project, the chief minister said the state government will provide all facilities to the warkaris, who carry out the pilgrimage to the Pandharpur temple town every year.
"With the Centre and the state coming together, a big strength has been generated and we should take advantage of it," he said.
The CM said instructions have been issued for preparing a DPR (detailed project report) at the earliest to provide all modern facilities to Lord Vitthal's devotees in the Pandhapur temple premises and the town. "The state government will approve it (DPR)," he said.