BJP-ruled Rajasthan has turned down Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s request to host the next National Youth Festival in his home state. Elected to Lok Sabha from Jaipur Rural, Rathore, Olympic silver medallist at Athens 2004, was very keen that the 22nd youth jamboree be held in Rajasthan. Sources said he even discussed the matter with Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and his department wrote a letter to the Rajasthan Chief Secretary.
But last month, Rajasthan’s Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Gajendra Singh Khimsar sent word that the state would not be able to host the festival. Earlier, Rajasthan Yuva Board president Bhupendra Saini had sent a written request that the festival be hosted in Jaipur next January.
The festival is an annual gathering of about 6,000 youth with various cultural activities including competitive ones. 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. It is held in a different state each year during National Youth Week — January 12 to 16. Last year, it was hosted by Haryana. In 2011, Rajasthan hosted it at Udaipur.
Reached for comment, Rajasthan Additional Chief Secretary Jagdish Chandra Mohanty said, “There was a proposal to organise National Youth Festival in Rajasthan but we conveyed that we are not interested this year because we had already done it in Udaipur a few years ago. The states are offered (to organise the) festival by rotation; any state can host it.”