The Congress government in Chhattisgarh on Thursday celebrated its two years in power amid chants of Jai Shri Ram.
The occasion was marked by a grand event organised by the state tourism department at Chandkhuri’s Kaushalya Temple where state ministers proclaimed their devotion to Ram.
The Ram Van Gaman Paripath Paryatan Rath Yatra to mark two years of the Bhupesh Baghel-led government started from the north and south of the state simultaneously on December 14. After following a zig-zag circuit of more than 1500 km and covering nine spots believed to have been Ram’s abode during his exile in Dandakaranya, the Yatra culminated at Chandkhuri on Thursday.
State ministers on Thursday reached the Chandkhuri temple, about 25 km from capital Raipur, in a bus. Addressing the event, Chief Minister Baghel accused the BJP of using Ram’s name to cause discord. “We don’t want to fight on the ownership, nor do we want to spread hate. Ram jan jan me hain, kan kan me hain (Ram is in everyone, everything),” he said.
Soil brought from the nine locations believed to have been Ram’s abode was carried in by nine women on their heads, all of them clad in yellow sarees. The venue was marked by yellow flags with Jai Shri Ram written on them. “The soil has been deposited near the temple and on them, nine rudraksh trees would grow. They would signify the strength and unity of Chhattisgarh,” said Home and Tourism Minister Tamradhwaj Sahu.
Minister Ravindra Chaubey said, “The BJP seems to have a problem with the Congress’s love for Ram. But they seem to have forgotten about Kewat and Shabri and only care for the rich. They evoke Ram’s name for vote, note and chot (hurt), but for us, every work starts by invoking His name.”
“Our various schemes to ensure that villages thrive and grow under the Suraji Gram Yojana is a part of Ram Rajya or good governance that this government has promised and delivered,” he added.
Minister Shiv Daharia said Congress leaders, like Hanuman, carry Ram in their hearts. “Any Congressi can, like Hanuman, split their chest open and show Rama,” Daharia said.
A section of the tribal community has taken a strong objection to a government function organised around a religious theme. “Since it is a government event, the taxpayer’s money has been used. Tribals are against this event and the Ram Van Gaman tourism circuit project,” tribal leader Vinod Nagvanshi said.