Diwali 2017: From PM Modi to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, this is how Indian leaders celebrated Diwalihttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/diwali-2017-narendra-modi-gurez-kashmir-yogi-adityanath-nirmala-sitharaman-andaman-4898142/

Diwali 2017: From PM Modi to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, this is how Indian leaders celebrated Diwali

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent his fourth successive Diwali with jawans on the border, while Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the forest-dwelling 'Vantangiya' community

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrating the Diwali with the jawans of the Indian Army and BSF, in the Gurez Valley, near the Line of Control, in Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday. The Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat is also seen.
PTI Photo

From Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s impromptu Gurez visit to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, many politicians chose to celebrate Diwali this year with the Indian troops and the marginalised sections of our society. The Prime Minister spent his fourth successive Diwali with jawans on the border.

PM Modi arrived at Gurez on Thursday morning unannounced and was there with the soldiers for two hours in the remote valley, which is close to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and has witnessed several gunfights with militants in the past few decades. Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and other senior army officers were also present on the occasion.

Modi offered sweets and exchanged greetings with jawans. The PM said like everyone else, he too wished to spend Diwali with his “family”. “I consider the jawans of the armed forces as my family,” Modi said, adding he gets new energy when he spends time among the jawans. The Prime Minister also appreciated their penance and sacrifice amid harsh conditions.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman celebrated Diwali with jawans at Andaman and Nicobar’s Brichgunj Military Station (Source: ANI/Twitter)

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too interacted with the troops and their families at Andaman and Nicobar’s Brichgunj Military Station on the occasion of Diwali. Appreciating the work being done by the troops in the challenging environment, Sitharaman urged them to continue their service to the nation.

PHOTOS: PM Modi goes to Gurez for Diwali, spends time with soldiers

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is visiting Ayodhya’s disputed Ram Janmabhoomi site on the occasion of Diwali, distributed sweets, fruits and textbooks to the children and wheelchairs to the differently-abled members of the Vantangiya community. He also declared five of their settlements — Tikonia Number-3, Ramgarh, Chilbila, Sarkar and Aam Bagh Ramgarh — as revenue villages. Adityanath also directed officials to present proposals before the government for constructing primary schools, aaganwaadi centres, sports fields, drinking water facilities, cremation spots and grazing lands in the five villages. The Vantangiya community comprises people who were brought from Myanmar to plant trees for afforestation during the colonial rule.

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(Source: MIB India/Twitter)

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his wife celebrated Diwali with BSF jawans at the border outpost near Lakhpat in Kutch district, where he assured them of facilities like drinking water, mobile connectivity and air coolers in barracks. Rupani visited the floating border outpost (BOP) at Sir Creek in Arabian Sea along the India-Pakistan border, and also addressed a group of BSF personnel.

“I wish you all the very best…We are all one family, and it is a great feeling to celebrate Diwali among family members. I saw floating BOP, how you are working in the ocean. Even in a tough situation, a BSF jawan conducts his duty with great dedication, risking his life,” he said. Rupani said the last time he had visited the border outpost in Banaskantha, and had ensured that a mobile tower was constructed for jawans to talk to their family members.

Diwali 2017: PM Modi said that spending time with jawans gives him new energy. (Source: PTI)

Meanwhile, other politicians addressed the people of their states and wished them prosperity and happiness. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said the paddy bonus disbursed to farmers ahead of Diwali helped them in their festival shopping and also strengthened the economy. “Over 13 lakh farmers were given a bonus of Rs 2,100 crore for the paddy procured in previous Kharif season ahead of the Diwali this year,” he said.

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Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang appealed to the people to celebrate Diwali in a “pollution-free manner”. “Let this festival of lights be an occasion for all of us to show love and mutual respect to one another. May this day bring peace, joy and prosperity to every home and society in the state,” Zeliang said. “Heartiest greetings to all on the occasion of KaliPuja and Deepavali,” West Bengal Chief Mnister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday for spending Diwali in Gurez along the Line of Control (LoC) and urged him to gift mobile connectivity to the people of the area on the festive occasion. He also asked the Prime Minister to construct a tunnel under the Razdan Pass, which is located at a height of 3,300 metres.