London: Overwhelmed by the presence of over 25,000 people at the recent Diwali fest at the city’s Trafalgar Square, new Mayor of London Boris Johnson has assured henceforth Diwali would be a permanent annual feature at the famous landmark.

The Conservative Party Mayor, who was the chief guest at the Diwali celebrations at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan here, said “I was overwhelmed to see over 25,000 people celebrating Diwali at the Trafalgar Square and it will be a permanent annual feature.”

Mr. Johnson, who has a Sikh mother-in-law, said he wanted to build close relations with Indians. Citing his close proximity with the country, the Mayor said, “The suit I am wearing is made in India and I want close India-U.K. relations.”

The Mayor asked the small businesses, who constitute 14 per cent of the London’s total business, contributing annually 60 million pounds to the city’s economy, to apply for the Olympic contracts. “It is our business to help small businesses,” he said.

As an incentive, he said all bills connected with the 9.3 billion pounds Olympic 2012 works, are cleared within ten days, instead of normal 30 days.

The Mayor said he would do everything to encourage Indian art and culture in the city.

The Deputy High Commissioner to the U.K., Asoke Mukerji, lauded the work of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in promoting Indian art and culture in the U.K.

Largest cultural entity

Maneck Dalal, OBE, chairman of the Bhavan, said the U.K. centre of Bhavan was the largest Indian cultural entity outside India. — PTI

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