Tourism with focus on heritage and tradition was prime for Kerala and the Central Government which initiated seven projects during the first NDA term would do all to take them forward, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Guruvayur today.
He also assured all support and promised to be with the State in tackling the deadly nipah virus.
In his first address in Kerala after taking over in his second term, Modi, after offering prayers at the Sri Krishna temple on Saturday, said, "Let there be blessings of Guruvayurappan on one and all."
In a tweet after the temple visit, Modi said he prayed for the prosperity of the country.
He addressed the public during the BJP-organised 'Abhinandan Sammelanam' on the Sri Krishna School grounds. His address was punctuated with spiritual tone.
"Be it Guruvayur, Udupi or Dwaraka, the land (Gujarat) from which I come, it is always pleasure to be in the land of Sri Krishna," he said, referring to his Guruvayur temple visit. "Kerala is as important to me as Varanasi," Modi added.
He said this was an occasion to thank all for participating recently in the 'greatest festival of democracy'. Despite campaign by political pundits and some surveys which failed to know the pulse of the people, the electorate stood with BJP, he added.
There could be doubts as to why he came to thank the electorate in Kerala which did not elect a single person, Modi said. But people here and across the country should know that irrespective of divergent political stands, are people were equal for the BJP and his government. The welfare programmes were the same for one and all, Modi added.
About tourism, Modi said Kerala had a great tradition and tourism potential. Efforts would continue to develop heritage tourism which had good job prospects, . provide self-employment too.
Seven projects under Prasad programme, inaugurated some in connection with this in Thiruvananthapuram just before elections, would be continued, Modi said.
About animal welfare, he referred to elephants of Guruvayur and being a prime part of traditional Kerala festivals. All animals were important and like the movement for polio eradication, priority would be given by his Government to protect animals, maintain their health and focus on rural development.
He said the news of nipah resurgence in Kerala was unfortunate and the Union Government stood with Kerala and would do all possible to help the State and support its initiatives to fight the virus.
The world now was looking at India with awe, and there was the optimism of a 'New India' and there was a new spirit and the Guruvayur visit had given him greater strength and vigour, Modi said while thanking the people.