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Kashi Mahakal Express row: IRCTC claims reservation of seat was a 'one-time affair'

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New Delhi, Feb 17: The IRCTC on Monday said a seat was reserved for Lord Shiva in the Kashi Mahakal Express during its inaugural run as a "one-time affair" to seek "blessings" for the success of the new project, as some questioned the move.

The train staff had "temporarily put the photos of Shri Mahakaal" on an upper berth during the inaugural run on Sunday to perform pooja, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said in a statement.

Kashi Mahakal Express row: IRCTC claims reservation of seat was a one-time affair

Earlier, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a row erupted over the Kashi Mahakal Express.

PM Modi to flag off 'Maha Kaal' Express through video link; to inaugurate 30 projects in Varanasi

Today, Owaisi posted a tweet with a picture of the Premable of the Constitution by tagging th Prime Minister's office.

Owaisi's tweet came a day after the Kashi Mahakal Express was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Seat number 64 in B5 coach has been turned into a mini-temple devoted to Lord Shiva and left vacant for the deity.

Speaking to reporters, Northern Railway spokesperson Deepak Kumar said, "It's for the first time that a seat has been reserved and left vacant for the deity Lord Shiva. Even a temple has been drawn on the seat to make people aware that the seat is reserved for the Lord Mahakal in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain."

Devotional music, two dedicated private guards in every coach and with only vegetarian meals served will be some of the key features of the fully 3-AC service that will run thrice a week between Varanasi and Indore.

Speaking about the Kashi Mahakal Express, the train connects Omkareshwar, Mahakaleshwar and Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlingas. The train was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday from the Varanasi junction and will start plying regularly from February 20.

The train will cover 1,131 km between Varanasi and Indore via Lucknow and a distance of 1,102 km between Varanasi and Indore via Prayagraj (Allahabad) in approximately 19 hours.

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