Kejriwal at yoga event, but Congress leaders keep away

  • Ht Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 22, 2015 00:51 IST

The 35,985-strong crowd at the Rajpath early on Sunday threw up several familiar faces but no key Opposition leaders could be seen. Observers also failed to spot senior leaders of any partner parties of the NDA.

According to the government, all the MPs of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were invited for the largest yoga assembly to celebrate the first International Yoga Day.

However, leaders cutting across non-BJP political parties chose to skip the event.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, however, attended the event along with deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

The two leaders were invited in their official capacity but other AAP ministers and MLAs were nowhere to be seen.

While political parties, cutting across the spectrum, supported yoga as a healthy lifestyle, the Opposition parties slammed the government’s "event management" strategies and the attempts by a section of the ruling establishment to add religious connotations to the practice of yoga.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi are out of the country and other Congress leaders boycotted the event where Modi came down from the dais and joined the crowd to perform yoga.

Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh tweeted on Sunday morning, "I wish International Yoga Day to all. But this Tamasha of Community Yoga is utter waste of public money and is only image building for Modi."

While the Opposition slammed the government, no prominent alliance party leaders or ministers could also be seen at Rajpath.

Former RSS leader Ram Madhav, who now serves as BJP general secretary, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi and minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha were among the prominent political faces at the early morning mega show of yoga.

The Modi government had decided to send its senior ministers in different parts of the nation to host similar events in their respective areas.

Allies such as the TDP, PDP, Shiv Sena and Akali Dal could not be spotted in the well-attended spectacle. Some allies maintained that their leaders were busy in their respective areas to promote yoga and chose not to come to the Capital.

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