The Delhi Cabinet has decided to add Ayodhya to the list of pilgrimage sites under the ‘Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojna’, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced here on Wednesday.
The scheme, which facilitates free pilgrimage for senior citizens residing in the Capital, had been halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would recommence within a month, he said.
The announcement comes ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, likely to be held early next year. The Delhi Government is also preparing to organise live telecast of Deepavali celebrations, led by Mr. Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues.
Advertisements for the event, in which Mr. Kejriwal invites citizens to join him remotely from their homes, have been playing out on various media, including radio and TV news channels.
“Hearty congratulations on the occasion of Diwali. We will welcome Lord Ram together – but we will not burst firecrackers, we will not cause pollution,” Mr. Kejriwal says in the ‘Dilli Ki Diwali’ ad. “All 2 crore of us Delhiites will perform Diwali Puja together at 7 p.m. Please join me in the puja from your homes... May our Delhi forever enjoy Lord Ram’s benevolence. Jai Shri Ram,” the Chief Minister concludes.
‘Shravan Kumar’ pledge
Following a meeting of the Cabinet, Mr. Kejriwal said in a digital briefing that he had pledged to follow the footsteps of ‘Shravan Kumar’, a mythological figure from Ramayana who took his parents on a pilgrimage. “It gives me immense pleasure to inform the people of Delhi that we have approved a proposal, adding Ayodhya as one of the destinations under the Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojna,” he said.
Under the Yojna, the Delhi Government bears the entire expense of the pilgrimage, including travel by air-conditioned trains, AC hotel stays, meals, local travel and more. There is also a provision to take someone young as an attendant to help the elderly in their journey. The expenses of the attendant are also borne by the Delhi Government.
Currently, there are 12 Yatra routes. The four-day-long Delhi-Ayodhya-Delhi trip will be the 13th route in the list.
“Till now, 35,000 people have made pilgrimages under the scheme. Today, I am beyond happy as I myself had the privilege of visiting Shri Ram Lalla in Ayodhya yesterday (Tuesday),” the Chief Minister said.