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CM Yogi Adityanath leads Dussehra procession in Gorakhpur

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath who also heads the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur, led the Dussehra procession in his capacity as the mahant of the temple.

lucknow Updated: Sep 30, 2017 20:16 IST
Pawan Dixit and Abdul Jadid
Pawan Dixit and Abdul Jadid
Hindustan Times, Gorakhpur
Yogi Adityanath,UP CM,Dussehra procession
Chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath leads the procession of Dussehra from Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur on Saturday.(Deepak Gupta/HT)

Yogi Adityanath made history of sorts on Saturday becoming the first ever chief minister of a state to lead a Dussehra procession.

Adityanath has been leading Dussehra processions from the Gorakhnath temple since 2014 when he was anointed the temple’s chief priest after the demise of Mahant Avaidyanath. On Saturday afternoon as Mahant Yogi Adityanath came out of the Gorakhnath temple on an SUV that was turned into a chariot to lead the historic Dussehra procession, the crowd waiting outside for hours burst into cheers.

Amid tight security, it was ‘Mahant ji’ all the way and not CM Yogi Adityanath, with the crowd shouting ‘Gorakhnath peethadheshwar ki jai’. The saffron-clad Adityanath also wore a pagdi (headgear).

As the procession moved ahead with the Mahant leading it, the crowd began to swell. Slogans of ‘Mahant Yogi Adityanath zindabad’, ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ became louder.

Locals welcomed the procession with crackers. People thronged balconies and perched on roof-tops to catch a glimpse of Adityanath.

Ahead of the procession, a group of youths performed acrobatics with swords and sticks. Security personnel had a tough time controlling the crowd as the procession moved on.

Traversing through narrow roads, the procession reached Mansarovar temple, a stop-over before reaching the Ram Lila ground.

Here Mahant Yogi Adityanath got down from the chariot and performed elaborate ‘pooja’ and ‘aarti’ of lord Shiva and other deities, a part of the Dussehra festivities.

Once the ceremony ended at Mansarovar temple, Adityanath’s procession moved ahead towards Ram Lila ground, a few metres away from the temple.

Thousands of people were already waiting there. As his chariot entered the ground, chants of ‘Gorakhnath peethadheshwar zindabad’ reverberated. Yogi Adityanath performed traditional aarti of Lord Ram and raj tilak, amid chants of ‘Jai Sri Ram’.

Addressing the gathering, Adityanath appealed to people to fight corruption, naxalism, terrorism and dynastic politics, an oblique attack on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. He also reminded people about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ and exhorted them to strive for cleanliness.

“It was PM Narendra Modi ji who has waged a war against poor sanitation. This war should have started after Independence. Had it been so, today eastern UP might have benefited most from it,” he said.

“Then there would have been no Japanese Encephalitis in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The main cause of the JE is poor sanitation,” said Yogi to a big round of applause from the crowd.

The CM also pointed out that thousands of children died every year in eastern UP due to the Japanese Encephalitis .

The CM also attacked his political opponents for caste politics and appeasement on communal lines.

“On this Diwali we all must take an oath to keep our houses, colony and nearby areas clean to take forward PM Narendra Modi’s drive for cleanliness,” said Yogi.

After the elaborate ceremony, Adityanath returned to Gorakhnath temple where he had arranged a community feast for people from all walks of life.

Dussehra celebrations had begun at the temple at 9 in the morning. Along with disciples of the Nath sect, Adityanath presided over a special ritual, a closed door ceremony strictly for saints.

Thereafter, at around 1 pm, followers of the Nath sect, disciples of the temple, and saints gathered at the Tilak Hall inside the temple to seek blessings from Mahant Yogi.

First Published: Sep 30, 2017 19:12 IST