Just nine days before the opening ceremony of the 22nd National Youth Festival, the Centre has decided to move the festival venue from Jaipur to Noida.
On Wednesday, an official of the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), the government organisation which conducts the annual festival, said: “Now we are looking at Noida as the alternate venue considering that there is little time for arrangements.” The event opens on January 12.
A meeting has been fixed for Thursday with officials of Noida and Greater Noida to outline requirements and decide on timelines, he said. “The UP government will be executing the festival given the short time,” the official said.
Incidentally, Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, elected to Lok Sabha from Jaipur Rural, was very keen to host the youth jamboree in his home state. The Vasundhara Raje government, which had initially turned down Rathore’s request to host the festival in Jaipur, later relented and even agreed to part-finance the event.
According to the NYKS official, the decision on shifting the venue was taken due to the forthcoming bypolls in Alwar and Ajmer on January 29 for two Lok Sabha seats that fell vacant due to the untimely death of their representatives. “We were unsure if holding the festival would have violated the model code of conduct,” the official said.
Both constituencies border Jaipur. The conduct code comes into force once the Election Commission announces the poll dates and remains in force till the electoral process ends. The five-day youth jamboree ends on January 16.
Last week, Major General Dilawar Singh (retd), Director General of NYKS, announced Jaipur as the venue and said that PM Narendra Modi had been invited to address the gathering.
The festival is an annual gathering of youth with various cultural activities. Celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, it is organised by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in collaboration with one of the state governments.