The divide between the ruling Congress and Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party over the Christmas celebrations in Himachal Pradesh has become apparent.
While the BJP is following the party's nationwide 'diktat' and has chosen to celebrate the day as 'Good Governance Day' to mark the 90th birthday of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Congress reminded the people about the importance of Christmas celebrations.
Felicitating people on the Christmas eve, state Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said, "Christmas that marks the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated across the globe as an extremely joyous occasion not only for Christians, but for people of all faiths."
"The teachings of peace, love, amity and compassion preached by Jesus Christ are relevant even today," he said.
Such occasions were instrumental in strengthening the bonds of universal brotherhood and communal harmony besides inspiring the people to dedicate themselves to the service of mankind to carve out an ideal society, he added.
Sukhu called upon people to celebrate the festival with traditional fervour and gaiety to depict their deep sense of commitment towards secularism in line with the ethos of 'unity in diversity'.
Meanwhile, state BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti said, "The party has already directed district and block units to celebrate Vajpayee's birthday on December 25 as 'Good Governance Day."
The party will seek feedback from people on governance at national as well as state level, said Satti.
The BJP has organised a workshop in Una inviting people from different walks of life to seek their suggestions and feedback on governance. Hamirpur MP and national BJYM president Anurag Thakur will preside over a series of functions being organised in Hamirpur parliamentary constituency.
Similarly, BJP MPs in Shimla, Mandi and Kangra will also participate in different programmes in respective areas.
Former union minister and Lok Sabha member from Kangra, Shanta Kumar will give tips to BJP workers on 'effective' measures adopted by Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government to give good governance to the country.
Guv, CM greet people on Christmas
Governor Urmila Singh and chief minister Virbhadra Singh have greeted people of the state on the Christmas eve.
Urmila Singh said Christmas is reminder of the profound message of Lord Jesus Christ of spreading universal brotherhood.
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh also extended greetings to members of the Christian community.
He expressed hope that the holy occasion of Christmas would rekindle the spirit of love, joy and compassion besides promoting unity and brotherhood in society.