Narendra Modi in Jammu and Kashmir, Yogi Adityanath in Gorakhpur: How politicians celebrated Diwali in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday celebrated Diwali with soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir, telling them how he gets energised by spending time with the armed forces, which he called "my family".

Dressed like soldiers in military camouflage, Modi sported a black aviator on his eyes and spent nearly two hours with the troops in the Gurez valley near the Line of Control (LoC).

He offered sweets and gifts and exchanged greetings with them, appreciating the sacrifices of armed forces in protecting the country. He said like everyone else, he too wished to spend Diwali with his family.

"Therefore, I came here to be with you because you are my family. When I shake hands with you, you may think it is a formality. But it is not a formality for me. I get new energy," he said in his address to the gathering of the men in uniform.

The prime minister said he had been told that the soldiers on the borders regularly practice yoga which would "definitely enhance their abilities, and give them a sense of calm".

He said soldiers who leave the armed forces after completing their duty tenure "can become excellent yoga trainers".

In the visitors' book, Modi wrote: "Protecting the Motherland, far from your loved ones, displaying the highest traditions of sacrifice, all soldiers at the nation's borders, are symbols of bravery and dedication.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Diwali with the armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Diwali with the armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir. PTI

"I have an opportunity to spend the festival of Diwali with you. The presence of brave soldiers at the border, on this festive occasion, lights the lamp of hope, and generates new energy among crores of Indians."

The prime minister, according to an official statement, spoke of the new resolve that each Indian citizen must make for 2022 — the 75th anniversary of Independence.

"To accomplish the dream of 'New India', this is a golden opportunity for all of us to work together. The army too is a part of it."

He also said that the central government was committed to the "welfare and the betterment" of the military personnel, in every way possible. He mentioned the implementation of One Rank, One Pension, which had been pending for decades.

The Chief of Army Staff, General BS Rawat, and other senior Army Officers were present on the occasion.

The prime minister arrived at the Dawar Brigade headquarters of the Army in the border town of Gurez, some 130 km from Srinagar, in north Kashmir's Bandipore district.

Gurez is the gateway to Gilgit-Baltistan, part of the Jammu and Kashmir under Pakistani control.

This was the fourth successive Diwali Modi celebrated with soldiers. In 2014, months after he came to power, Modi spent the festival at Siachen, the world's highest battlefield.

On the other hand, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman celebrated the festival with military personnel at the strategically important tri-services command on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Sitharaman, who arrived at the command on Wednesday, also reviewed its security preparedness and other operational matters.

The defence minister also paid hoomage to the Indian Air Force personnel and their families who were killed during the tsunami in the Car Nicobar islands.


She also visited a naval facility and the Coast Guard base under the Andaman and Nicobar command in Port Blair.

"RM @DefenceMinIndia Smt @nsitharaman celebrates Diwali with troops&their families at Tri-Services Command A&N (sic)," the defence ministry tweeted.

This was her first visit to the strategically important command after assuming charge as the defence minister.

On her arrival on Wednesday, she was accorded a joint services guard of honour.

Later, she was given a comprehensive brief on the security environment and thrust areas of the command at its headquarters, officials had said on Wednesday.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, in a Diwali message to the people, said that the festival "symbolises the victory of good over evil."

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also greeted the people of the state on the occasion of Kali Puja and Diwali.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath celebrated Diwali with the Vantangiya community in Gorakhpur, and declared five Vantangiya villages as revenue villages.

He, on the occasion, distributed sweets, fruits and textbooks among the children. He also distributed wheelchairs to the differently-abled Vantangiyas.

The chief minister also directed officials to present proposals before the state government for making primary schools, aaganwaadi centres, sports fields, drinking water arrangements, cremation spot and grazing land available to the community.

"Deepawali is a festival which symbolises victory over untruth (asatya), injustice (anyaay) and exploitation (shoshan)," he said. Meanwhile, in Etawah, Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, president Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav were seen together on the occasion. Mulayam said "all is well and there is not any feud in the family". Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani celebrated Diwali with the Border Security Force (BSF) jawans at the border outpost near Lakhpat in Kutch district.

The chief minister assured the jawans of facilities like drinking water and mobile connectivity.

Rupani and his wife, Anjali, visited the floating Border Outpost (BOP) in Sir Creek in Arabian Sea along the Indo-Pak border, and also addressed a group of BSF personnel in the presence of Inspector General Ajay Tomar.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said she Diwali would bring everlasting happiness and peace to the people of the state, an official spokesman said.

She said the state is proud that its residents celebrate the festivals of every religion and community with equal joy and enthusiasm.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis asked people to ensure no damage is caused to the environment while celebrating Diwali and the festivities do not lead to air and noise pollution.

"All Indian festivals have a bond with nature. People should take precautions that there is no damage caused to the environment so as to be able to live in a healthy and pollution-free environment," Fadnavis had said in the Mantralaya.

Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh also extended greetings and wishes to people of the state on the auspicious occasion of Diwali.

The chief minister, in his message, said he wished that the festival bring peace, prosperity and happiness to the people besides strengthening the bonds among them, an official statement in Raipur stated.

With inputs from agencies


Published Date: Oct 20, 2017 08:18 am | Updated Date: Oct 20, 2017 03:16 pm



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