The Haryana government will spend around Rs 100 crore to celebrate the teachings of Bhagavad Gita at Kurukshetra, where Lord Krishna is believed to have delivered the sermons that form the crux of the Hindu religious treatise.
President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate the Gita Jayanti celebrations on December 1.
Sources said the expenditure for past celebrations was a few crore rupees. Officials, however, said the proposed expenditure includes renovation of temples and places of religious importance and building a makeshift centre for housing thousands of devotees expected to visit the city during the celebrations that will run through December 11.
The BJP-led government of Manohar Lal Khattar had faced criticism in the past for allegedly trying to impose Hindutva ideology in the state.
Kurukshetra deputy commissioner Sumedha Kataria said there was no “dearth of funds” for this event.
“Efforts are being made to take Gita Jayanti to the international level and it will help to promote Kurukshetra, the birthplace of Gita, as an international tourist destination,” Kataria added.
Political experts, however, said the move will not provide any political benefit to the ruling party.
“There might be a perception of political gains but I don’t think it will give political benefit to the ruling party as most of the people see such events for promotion of tourism,” said RS Yadav, former dean of social sciences at Kurukshetra University.
As part of the celebrations, a person each from 574 districts of the country will travel by train reciting Gita slokas, people from across the world will be asked to share selfies with portraits of Lord Krishna on social media and members of religious organisations will ask their followers to chant Gita verses.
Officials added that several organisations including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Yog Peeth, Ram Krishna Mission and ISKCON will take part in the celebrations.
Those attending the event will also be taken to Adi-Badri, where the mythical river Saraswati is believed to have originated.