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HENB | New Delhi | March 14, 2016:: The last day of the Art of Living’s 3 day World Culture Festival turned into a grand finale with leaders across the political spectrum attending the mega event on Yamuna floodplains.
Senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley, Suresh Prabhu, Venkaiah Naidu, Sumitra Mahajan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Party President Amit Shah alongwith Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal shared the stage at the function.
The Divine Grace, Spiritual Mentor. Prominent Hindu Seer and Art of Living Guru Sri Sri Ravishankar, who had earlier held meditation sessions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said he had invited Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi too. “I guess they were busy,” he said as the two Congressi leaders failed to turn up.
But, the speech of Delhi CM was outstanding. Arvind Kejriwal said on the last day of the festival that World Culture Festival is “historic, divine and amazing”, pledging that his government will make efforts to clean the Yamuna.
Kejriwal also said that the Centre and the state should come together to clean the river. “Jai Gurudev! This is amazing. This is a seven-acre stage and 4,500 artists have performed together. This is a divine and amazing sight,” he said, while congratulating Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for spreading the message of “spirituality, love and peace”.
“Hatred will only breed hatred. Only love can heal hatred,” Kejriwal said. The chief minister was cheered on by the crowd and AOL volunteers. “As I am selfish Guruji, I want humbly two things from you. Your AOL volunteers are amazing. They are so disciplined and civil. I don’t know what magic you have worked on them. There are various events of the Delhi government. Please give us AOL volunteers for our programmes,” he said.
Sri Sri said political parties should not politicise events having a bearing on the country’s reputation and suggested that the media has been “harsh” in its criticism of the World Culture Festival.
The reference was to the controversy that had erupted ahead of the festival over the venue, with local farmers and environmentalists contending that the expected 35 lakh footfall will have a devastating effect on the delicate flora and fauna of the area.
As the matter reached the National Green Tribunal, the Congress had pointed fingers at the BJP, questioning how necessary permissions from the authorities were secured for the event.
“We need a certain maturity. I don’t mind, but I request all political parties. Whenever such a grand event is being organised, party politics should be kept aside,” Sri Sri said, adding that his foundation has already received invitations from Australia, Mexico and other nations which wanted to host the next edition of the event.
“You should come together so that India’s prestige on the world stage rises… Other counties are writing in, saying they will help… The international press is asking why the Indian media was so harsh on us,” the spiritual leader said.
Calling the event a “Cultural Olympics,” he added, “Organising such an event is not easy. But people and artists have come here from all over the world with their own money.”
Replying to a query related to his statement that he would not pay the Rs. 5 crore fine imposed by the NGT, he said the green court has made it clear that it was not a fine but compensation to rejuvenate the area.
In the opening day of this World Cultural Festival, Indian PM Narendra Modi urged Indians to be proud of their cultural heritage. Hardline Hinduwadi BJP leader Subramanian Swamy was also present at the World Cultural Festival inauguration day.
So far 151 countries participated in this cultural fest and 12 lakh spectators gathered for the grand finale as told by a AOL spokesperson.