Thursday, June 04, 2015

Congress Snubs Modi's Invitation To Celebrate 'Yoga Day'

The Congress made a desperate attempt to take the sheen off the Narendra Modi government’s grand plan to celebrate International Yoga Day on June 21, alleging that it was merely a photo op. 

The Congress’s criticism came after the prime minister invited its chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi to the event.

“It is the same complete hypocrisy and hiatus between reality and hype,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said when asked about the PM’s invite to the party’s top leadership.

“This is keeping in with Modi’s personality and the government’s personality of making a lot of noise. They believe in words and not in deeds,” he said. 

Singhvi claimed there was a lot of difference between what the government was publicising about the event, and the ground reality. 

The senior Congress leader also questioned the BJP-led NDA government’s poor performance in utilising budget for Ayush health programme. 

Singhvi said though the Ayush programme was launched by the previous NDA government at the end of 2003, the scheme actually took off after 2004 when the UPA came to power. 

Taking a dig at the government, he said the fund utilisation of Ayush department, which is organising the yoga day event, was very high during the previous UPA rule, but ranged around just 43 per cent during the one year of Modi government. 

“Ayush funds 17 institutes, 12 central and five at state and UT level. Fund utilisation for the same was four per cent, three per cent and eight percent to 30-35 per cent. In one case, it was 55 per cent. This is the level of utilisation in a year when yoga has been hyped as far as oral statements are concerned,” said Singhvi. 

“What you shout from the rooftops and the figures on ground are startling,” he said. 

The Congress sources said the attempt by the PM to invite the party chief and vice president was just a gimmick aimed at co-opting his opponents for the much-hyped event. 

The sources further said it was for the top leadership to take a call on the invite. 

The government has made elaborate arrangements to celebrate the day in Delhi with Modi likely to attend. 

Around 45,000 persons, including several thousand school children are expected to attend the event that aims at promoting the ancient art of breathing, which improves work-life balance. 

By attending the event, PM Modi wants to convey a message globally. 

Earlier, the government had claimed success after the UN declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga after the NDA urged the international body for the same.

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