New Delhi: While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to arrive in Lucknow to celebrate Dussehra on Tuesday evening, other top rung leaders too have their plans to make this festival a special one.
Setting the tone for Dussehra festivities, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat used the occasion to address his cadres during which he praised the Narendra Modi government for the recent surgical strikes by the Indian Army against the terror launch pads across the Line of Control.
"Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is a part of India," said Bhagwat. "We all know that the outrage in Kashmir is because of forces across the border," he said while addressing an event in Nagpur.
In an open message to political parties, the RSS chief said that there was a need to promote nationalism in Jammu and Kashmir, adding that the 'gau rakshaks' who were working within the laws of the society were good people.
Narendra Modi will visit the historic Aishbagh Ramlila in Lucknow today, which will also be the first time that a Prime Minister celebrates Dussehra outside the national capital.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who represents Lucknow constituency in Lok Sabha, will also accompany the PM on his visit. The city has been converted into a fortress with the officials of Special Protection Group taking their position and monitoring the security of Aishbagh Ramlila ground and the roads. UP Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Akhikesh Yadav are likely to welcome the PM at the airport.
Modi's visit assumes an added significance because of assembly polls due next year in Uttar Pradesh where the saffron party is making a concerted bid to come back to power after a gap of 15 years and is up against ruling Samajwadi Party and main opposition Mayawati-led BSP.
The Aishbagh Ramlila is also seen as a symbol of pluralistic culture, also called 'Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb', as Muslim rulers patronised it and allotted it space equal to Eidgah, which is situated right next to it.
From the opposition parties, one of the most prominent leaders to be watched will be Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who will expectedly address a gathering at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi around 5 pm.
It will be interesting to observe what Rahul Gandhi has to say after his 'khoon ki dalali' remark sparked outrage in the country from several quarters and the ruling BJP.
"You (Modi) are hiding behind the blood of soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir and those who carried out the surgical strikes for India. You are exploiting their sacrifices, which is very wrong," Rahul Gandhi had said.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal's will also use the occasion to hit out at his political rivals, especially in view of the criticism he had faced for asking PM Modi to give evidence of Indian Army's surgical strikes across LoC. he is expected to attend the Dussehra festivities at the Ramlila Ground this evening.
Among others who will attend the Ramlilas today and tomorrow are President Pranab Mukherjee, vice-president Hamid Ansari, BJP president Amit Shah, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Union ministers Harshvardhan, Dharmendra Pradhan and Nitin Gadkari, former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, former PM Manmohan Singh, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad etc
Truly, a very 'special' Dussehra is definitely on the cards.
With PTI inputs