Health minister Ashwini Choubey assumes office after puja at his office chamber | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Health minister Ashwini Choubey assumes office after puja at his office chamber

Priests recited shlokas and blew conch shell as the minister prayed and also sprinkled holy Ganga water during the 15-20 minutes puja ceremony.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2017 17:51 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Health minister Ashwini Choubey performing puja on the first day of his office in New Delhi.
Health minister Ashwini Choubey performing puja on the first day of his office in New Delhi.

An ardent devotee of goddess Durga, Union minister of state for health Ashwini Kumar Choubey assumed office amid chanting of hymns and recitation of shlokas at the Nirman Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday afternoon.

Choubey, who devotes at least a couple of hours every day for prayers, was accompanied by four priests, including a head priest, who performed puja at his official chamber before he occupied the minister’s chair. The priests recited shlokas and blew conch shell as the minister prayed and also sprinkled holy Ganga water during the 15-20 minutes puja ceremony, said an insider who was privy to the function.

Choubey’s family members and friends, the Hindustan Times spoke to, said his belief in god went up several notches after he survived the 2013 flash floods and landslide following cloud burst in Uttarakhand that led to massive destruction and loss of lives.

Choubey, who was then inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Kedarnath temple, had a providential escape, as he lay unconscious there. He lost three family members — brother-in-law and his wife and nephew. Their family priest and his security personnel also perished in the floods along with scores of other pilgrims.

Choubey was stranded inside the Kedarnath temple for nearly two days on June 16 and 17, 2013, without food and water.

Recounting his horror after his return to Patna, Choubey had said that it was at the behest of the then BJP national president Rajnath Singh that a rescue team airlifted his family and him to Delhi.

Like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Choubey, too, fasts all through the nine-day long Navratri (Dussehra festival) during which he worships 4-5 hours a day.

Later, talking to reporters at his office on Monday, Choubey said, as a health minister, his endeavour would be to ensure that every single person in India was disease-free and happy.