Amid introductions through a line of actors at the Guruvayur Temple in Thrissur of Kerala, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a packet, believed to be akshatham, to each of them, including superstars of Malayalam cinema, Mammootty and Mohanlal. Modi and the actors had come to the temple on the morning of Wednesday, January 17, to attend the wedding of actor and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician Suresh Gopi's daughter Bhagya Suresh. After blessing the bride and groom, Sreyas, and showering flowers on them, Modi was taken along by Suresh Gopi to be introduced to the actors, standing in a line.
Jayaram, Parvathy, Biju Menon, Mohanlal, Mammootty and Tamil actor and BJP politician Kushboo greeted Modi with closed hands as he exchanged pleasantries with them and took out a red packet from a basket held by his staff to offer each of them. Akshatham, an offering of dry rice and paddy grains from the newly-built Ram temple in Ayodhya, have been distributed at homes across the country by leaders of the BJP. Senior leaders of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have been visiting homes of celebrities including Mohanlal to personally hand over the akshatham.
It is not clear if Narendra Modi was in fact giving away akshatham during the wedding ceremony. He had offered the packets and also showered flowers on a few other couples who got married at the Guruvayur temple on Wednesday morning.
It was earlier reported that several of the weddings, scheduled to take place around the same time as Bhagya's at the temple, had to be rescheduled to different times to make way for the Prime Minister's visit. The Devaswom Board, handling the affairs of the temple, however said that it was still arranged for the same day.
Last month, Narendra Modi visited Thrissur to address hundreds of women in Kerala in a grand event. The repeated visits to Thrissur are seen by political observers as a ploy to win voters ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in May. Suresh Gopi, who had earlier contested and lost the Thrissur constituency, is expected to be fielded again by the BJP this year.