Congress president Sonia Gandhi has decided against going to the Kumbh festival.

In a message, Ms. Gandhi said she was grateful to the residents of Haridwar and saints who invited her to the Kumbh festival but decided against going there as she felt her visit should not cause any inconvenience to the people at the gathering. “I have been forced to drop the idea.”

Ms. Gandhi said the Kumbh festival was part of the country's tradition and people had an abiding faith in it for centuries. Faith among people in a religious country like India evoked in them a feeling of respect towards human values.

She hoped that the approach of respecting human values in accordance with the thoughts of the country's ancient seers, saints and philosophers would continue to inspire society towards justice, tolerance and high principles. She conveyed her greetings to all visitors to the Kumbh and devotees.

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