Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today inaugurated International Mandi Shivratri Festival by paying obeisance at Madhav Rai temple. Chief Minster also participated in the Jaleb procession.
Addressing a mammoth gathering at Paddal ground, Chief Minister said that Mandi Shivratri was one of the biggest festivals being celebrated in Himachal Pradesh. He said that this festival had been organised since thousands of years in the Mandi which is also knows as ‘Chhoti Kashi’. He said that Mandi Shivratri was a confluence of Vaishnav and Shaiv tradition and more than 200 deities along with their kardars participate in this festival. He said that many festivals and fairs were being organised in the state which were very helpful in the conservation of our rich culture and traditions.
Virbhadra Singh said that International Mandi Shivratri Festival had a distinguished identity in the country and State Government had provided international level status to certain fairs and festivals for promoting them at national and international level and Mandi Shivratri Festival was among them. He said that this year cultural programmes were being organised at Paddal ground for first time as large number of people can enjoy the programmes at this venue.
He said that Congress Party believed in equal and all-round development of the State without discrimination and policies and programmes would be implemented for the welfare of common man. Besides giving pace to construction of roads, hydro-electric projects and irrigation and public health schemes. He said that state government had adopted the manifesto of the Congress Party as official policy document and promises made in the manifesto would be implemented in phased manner. He said that free traveling facility to all the students of the schools would be provided from 1st April in Himachal Road Transport Corporation buses.
Chief Minister also released the souvenir brought out by Mandi Shivratri Festival Committee on the occasion. Devesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner and Chairman International Mandi Shivratri Festival Committee honoured the Chief Minister and said that Mandi Shivratri Festival was being organised since 1527 AD. He said that many famous artists of national repute including Lakhwinder Badali, Harbhajan Maan and famous playback singer Mamta Sharma would gave their performances in the cultural programmes.
Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur, Anil Sharma, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Minister, Parkash Chaudhary, Excise and Taxation Minister, Karan Singh, Maheshwar Singh, Sohan Lal, MLAs, Pt. Sukh Ram, Former Cabinet Minister, Vikramaditya Singh, President, Himachal Pradesh Sports and Cultural Association, Rangila Ram Rao and Natha Singh, Former Ministers, Tek Chand Dogra, Surender Pal, Babu Ram Gautam, MLAs, Chet Ram Thakur, Former Chairman, MILKFED, J.C. Chauhan, Principal Private Secretary to the Chief Minister, Amit Pal Singh, OSD to the Chief Minister, R.S. Negi, Superintendent of Police, Kamal Sharma, Director Youth Services and Sports Department, senior officers and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.