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Yogi govt’s call for grand Janmashtami celebrations sparks row

lucknow Updated: Aug 15, 2017 14:25 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Yogi Adityanath,UP chief minister,Janmashtami

Janmashtami preparations in Lucknow on Monday. (Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

Observing that Janmashtami celebrations had been ‘disrupted in the state for a while’, Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has ordered that the festival will now be held in a “grand but dignified” manner in accordance with Indian traditions.

The order and its wording has angered the Congress which has criticised the government for being insensitive as the ‘grand celebration’ order coincides with mass child deaths in Adityanath’s Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency.

Yogi Adityanath, who is also the head priest of Gorakhnath temple, had visited Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College hospital on Sunday. He was again expected in Gorakhpur on Monday evening to join Janmashtami celebrations at the temple but he cancelled the visit.

The order angered the state’s main opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) which claimed it was ‘mischievous’.

“The order, while asking the police force to celebrate the occasion in a grand manner, also says that in the past such celebrations were disrupted. This is mischievous. As chief minister, Akhilesh Yadavji himself visited the police lines for the Janmashtami celebrations,” former UP minister Rajendra Chowdhary told HT.

After the order, director general of police Sulkhan Singh has written to all police chiefs to celebrate the festival that will be held across two days till Tuesday.

According to mythology, Krishna was born in a prison in Mathura. That is why special celebrations are held in police lines and prisons on the occasion. That is also the reason why the Adityanath government has asked the police to celebrate the occasion in a grand manner.

Former Congress lawmaker Akhilesh Pratap Singh said: “Such an order could have been avoided given the fact that a mass tragedy has taken place in the CM’s backyard. And imagine, the order is talking of celebrating the play of Lord’s ‘baal leela’ when so many children have died. It reflects how insensitive the government is.”

UP BJP leader Manish Shukla has dismissed the opposition criticism as unwarranted.

“The criticism is political. Both the government and the party are pained by the tragedy and you will see a marked improvement in the situation that is anyway a legacy of the SP and Bahujan Samaj Party governments,” he said.

First Published: Aug 15, 2017 14:25 IST