Major events have been planned across India to mark the 150 th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting Rajghat and then flying off to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad later in the evening. He will also declare the country open defecation-free. On the other hand, BJP president Amit Shah is set to flag off the party’s nationwide “Gandhi Sankalp Yatra”.
In Pune, the Aga Khan Palace, where the Father of the Nation was under detention, will reopen from October 2. It was closed for revamp and restoration of the Mahatma Gandhi museum for over a month. Gandhi had a close association with Pune during the freedom struggle, and following the launch of the Quit India movement, Aga Khan Palace served as his prison from August 1942 to May 1944. He lived there with wife Kasturba, secretary Mahadev Desai and Sarojini Naidu. Kasturba and Desai died in the Palace premises.
Meanwhile, hundreds of prisoners will be freed from jails across India on October 2 to commemorate the 150 th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, 70 inmates from Maharashtra who have qualified for early release will have to wait a bit longer to walk out of their cells.
Several events have been organized in Ahmedabad and in other parts of Gujarat on Wednesday as part of the sesquicentennial year of Gandhi’s birth anniversary. The government is also expected to announce a ban on single-use plastic to pave the way for the country to become free of it by 2022.
Modi will start the day with a visit to Rajghat, the resting place of the father of the nation. It will be followed by a visit to Vijayghat, the resting place of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri who also shares his birthday with Gandhi. Modi will next go to Parliament where he will pay floral tributes to both leaders. Later in the evening, he will fly to Ahmedabad and visit Sabarmati Ashram.
Modi will arrive at the Ahmedabad airport around 6 pm and will be greeted by BJP workers at a function organized there by the party’s city unit, said Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani said. He will then visit the Sabarmati Ashram to pay tributes to the Father of the Nation.
From there, he will go to the Sabarmati riverfront where he will declare the country open defecation-free (ODF) in the presence of over 20, 000 village heads, added Vaghani. People associated with Gandhian institutions, high court judges, Padma awardees, students, educationists and village-level sanitation workers have been invited for the function.
“Modi will also attend the state-level Navratri festival organized at the city’s GMDC ground. He will spend some time at the Garba ground before leaving for Delhi,” Vaghani said.
People visiting Gujarat to attend the October 2 function at Sabarmati riverfront will be taken to different places associated with Mahatma Gandhi, like the memorial at Dandi, which is associated with the historic salt march led by him in 1930, and the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.
The administration of Navsari district, where Dandi is located, has organized a mega cleanliness drive at the Dandi beach, where Gandhi made salt as part of a civil disobedience movement, known as the ‘Salt Satyagrah’. Navsari collector Ardra Agarwal said around 1, 500 people are likely to join the drive to clean the Dandi beach.
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