The NDA government has decided to celebrate the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan on August 29 —possibly not on a scale as huge as International Day of Yoga but matching in fervour and spirit.
The festival, dear to the ruling BJP as well as its affiliate organisations, came up for discussion at a recent cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Following this, a four-member committee, comprising Union ministers Smriti Irani and Ananth Kumar, was set up to supervise the nitty-gritty of celebrating Raksha Bandhan Diwas in a big way this year, sources said.
“Cabinet ministers might be asked to visit their constituencies to celebrate the festival in which sisters tie a sacred thread or rakhi on their brother’s arm,” an official said.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological wellspring of the BJP, had called for celebrating the festival where brothers reaffirm vows to protect their sisters.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said in Bhubaneswar on Raksha Bandhan last year that the festival has national significance. “Celebrating the festival is a way to protect Hindu culture and live the values enshrined in it.”
An RSS Raksha Bandhan function was held at urban development and parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu’s residence in Delhi in 2014 after the BJP rode to power with an overwhelming majority.
Union ministers, BJP MPs and RSS leaders, including Bhaiyaji Joshi who was chief guest, attended the function.
There were also reports that hundreds of old widows spending their twilight years at ashrams in Varanasi made 1,000 rakhis last year for “new brother” Modi, who made his Lok Sabha debut from the holy city by the Ganga.