Lucknow: Attempting to de-link grand Diwali celebrations at Ayodhya from politics, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minster Yogi Adityanath has called his visit to the temple town this evening as an attempt by his government to promote "religious tourism" in the state.
"We must be proud of our religious and cultural centres. My visit to Ayodhya is part of our effort to develop these religious places so that we meet international standards in terms of providing facilities to tourist," Yogi told News18.
The CM tried to play down his Agra visit after the Taj Mahal controversy. He said the visit was pre-planned that included developing the Yamuna river front and a pathway from Taj Mahal to Agra Fort.
It is part of government's effort to develop religious tourism circuit that would include other major centers like Vrindavan, Varasani, Mathura, he said.
The state government has made elaborate arrangements for Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya this year. Nearly two-lac diyas will be it up along the Saryu river as chief minister and senior ministers of Yogi government will participate in Diwali celebrations.
"In the process we will also attempt to refresh memories of Lord Ram returning to Ayodhya after fourteen years in exile," the chief minister added.
With the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh about to face its first civic elections, the party is tapping the festive season in all its fervor to highlight the village electrification initiatives and other development projects undertaken by the BJP government.
Apart from the ‘Jyoti Parv’ celebrations in 1,275 villages, the Ghats of Saryu River have also been decked up as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will soon reach the temple town to celebrate Choti Diwali.
In a major feat, the chief minister is expected to light a record 2 lakh diyas at the Saryu Ghat after the grand Aarti ceremony in the evening.
Adityanath will reach Ayodhya in the afternoon and is expected to discuss the development projects undertaken by the state government for Ayodhya. He will address a gathering later.
Ever since he became the chief minister, Adityanath has paid special attention to Ayodhya. Apart from dedicating several government projects to the city, he has also raised the political tempers by visiting the disputed site of Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi.