With the BJP in power, Dussehra and Diwali festivals are set to be celebrated in a grand manner in Lord Rama’s birthplace Ayodhya this time, marking the resumption of the government-supported tradition stopped about two years back. “On this Dussehra, Ayodhya will be decorated with lights to recall defeat of Ravana at the hands of Lord Rama,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath told reporters in Gorakhpur. “On Diwali, a grand programme will be held in Ayodhya in which sadhu-saints will also participate. I will also invite Governor for this,” he added. This is for the first time that the state government has made the announcement about holding a grand function on Diwali in Ayodhya in an attempt to bring it back into the limelight.
According to the plans, prominent buildings along Saryu Ghat will be decorated and illuminated and the celebration will be attended by the governor, the chief minister and ministers. “The detailed programme is still to be finalised. We are working on it,” a senior official told PTI. He said the state tourism department has been made nodal agency for the programme while other departments will also oversee the events.
The state government said the objective of the programme is to develop Ayodhya as a tourism spot. The budget of the Yogi government, which came to power in March, had special mention of Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura, earmarking Rs 1,240 crore for the Ramayan, Buddhist and Krishna circuits in these cities. The budget was presented in July.
Earlier in May, the state government had re-started popular Ram Leela in Ayodhya at the Ayodhya Research Centre, after a hiatus of 17 months. The practice of daily shows of the epic Ram Leela in Ayodhya was started by the then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in May 2004 but it was stopped during Akhilesh Yadav’s regime after culture department refused to grant aid for the same. The Yogi government has re-started the shows after sanctioning a handsome budget for the Ram Leela. Adityanath has visited Ayodhya at least twice after assuming office and launched several projects worth crores of rupees for the city.