NEW DELHI, June 21:
Launching of new initiatives to popularise yoga and mass demonstrations where dignitaries participated with common people marked the first International Yoga Day celebrations across the states today.
States ruled by BJP and its allies took the lead, organising mammoth events and announcing various initiatives. While Gujarat is planning introduction of yoga as a regular practice in schools, Andhra Pradesh announced a grant of Rs 25 crore for conduct of regular such events.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the day’s event on Rajpath in the national capital, several Union ministers fanned out to states to take part in Yoga Day events.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda participated in the celebrations in Hyderabad, along with his cabinet colleague Bandaru Dattatreya.
Union Minister for Transport and Shipping Nitin Gadkari presided over a event in Nagpur, while Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Suresh Prabhu attended such events in West Bengal and Kerala, respectively.
Several Chief Ministers and Governors too attended events organised in state capitals, besides political bigwigs. BJP President Amit Shah took part in yoga session in Bihar capital Patna.
While most state governments organised official functions to mark the Day, the Uttar Pradesh government did not observe the day officially and had made it voluntary.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh led a session at the K D Singh Babu Stadium in Lucknow, where more than 15,000 people including Muslims, practised yogasanas. A sizeable number of government officers and employees were also present at the event.
In Gujarat, more than 1.25 crore people, including school children, senior citizens and women, today took part in Yoga Day events at around 29,000 locations across the state. Under the state government’s ‘Yoga on the River’ initiative, 1,500 trained participants performed yoga on 500 boats on Narmada river at Bharuch.
Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and Governor O P Kohli were present at the state-level celebration held at the GMDC Ground in Ahmedabad. Patel practised ‘asanas’ for almost 35 minutes, along with more than 70,000 participants, including IPS and IAS officers, MLAs, corporators and BJP leaders.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan led a large number of students and others in a yoga session at the Lal Parade Ground in state capital Bhopal. Union Minister for Steel and Mines Narendra Singh Tomar and state Finance Minister Jayant Mallaiya led the yoga session in Gwalior.
In the national capital, yoga sessions were also held at
the country’s premier health facility All India Institute of Medical Sciences and at the NDMC convention centre. Various Resident Welfare Associations also organised yoga classes at residential complexes across Delhi.
The AAP government, however, did not organise any programme on the day, saying that when one big event was being held, another one “will not be required”. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia was among the participants on Rajpath.
In the Kashmir Valley, yoga sessions were held at many places, with large numbers of school children participating with zeal and enthusiasm. The main function was held at Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar where over 1,200 NCC cadets and school children participated. Similar events were held at Baramulla, Uri, Bandipura, Tangdhar, Anantnag, Kargil and Leh.
Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gujjar was the chief guest at the event at Jhelum View Park in Rajbagh, organised by the Kashmir unit of BJP.
A series of events were organised across Punjab and Haryana. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar attended the state level function organised by Haryana Government in Karnal. He announced that 1,000 trainers would soon be appointed for ‘yog and vyamshalas’ to be set up in 1,000 villages in the state.
Haryana and Punjab Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki attended an event in Chandigarh to mark International Yoga Day.
In Rajasthan, lakhs of people performed yoga for one hour to mark the day with the state’s main event being attended by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her cabinet colleagues at Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur.
Chief Minister Raje also administered the oath of health, fitness and discipline in life to over 25,000 people. Besides cities, yoga was performed in 9,900 gram panchayats in which all elected representatives, NGOs and government employees took part.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who practised yoga with a select group of jail inmates in Central Prison on Mumbai’s Wardha Road, praised Prime Minister Modi for giving an international status to yoga and called for not to mix yoga with religion and politics.
In Mumbai, which has been witnessing heavy rainfall, BJP state unit president Raosaheb Danve and Health Minister Deepak Sawant performed yoga that was co-ordinated by party’s state treasurer Shaina N C and others. Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Anant Geete were present on the occasion.
Hundreds of people laid down their mattresses along the entire stretch of the ‘Queen’s necklace’ from Chowpatty to Nariman Point in a programme called ‘Yoga by the Bay’, which was a joint collaboration between the Art of Living, NGO ‘I Love Mumbai’ and ‘Equal Streets Initiative’.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced that the state government will provide Rs 25 crores for conducting of regular yoga programmes in the state by the AYUSH department.
In Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Raman Singh encouraged people, particularly the youngsters, to practice yoga while highlighting the benefits of the ancient form of exercise and meditation. Yoga not only strengthens an individual’s memory, but also helps people spiritually focus on their goal, Singh said participating at an event to mark the Day at Balbeer Singh Juneja Indoor Stadium in Raipur which was attended by over 1,000 students from around 17 schools.
In Goa, several groups voluntarily performed yoga at the beaches, schools and open grounds. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, June 21: