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Come Wednesday, Modi will lead ministers in showing off yoga skills across India

The Modi government is not leaving anything to chance to ensure the success of the third International Yoga Day celebrations on June 21.

The Centre will send its entire council of ministers to various parts of the country to lead the yoga day celebrations. A schedule drawn up by the party also mandated the chief ministers of all NDA-ruled states to participate in yoga events held in their jurisdictions.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi will show off his yoga skills with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow, home minister Rajnath Singh and road transport minister Nitin Gadkari will head the events at Himachal’s Sujanpur Tira and Maharashtra’s Nagpur respectively. Human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar will preside over the Manipur leg even as railway minister Suresh Prabhu takes the helm at Mumbai. The national capital, for its part, will witness the participation of Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj at its yoga day event.

It has become a trend for ministers to fan out across the country on such missions ever since the NDA government came to power in 2014. Soon after the yoga day celebrations are done, the entire council of ministers will again tour various parts of the country to mark the 42nd anniversary of the Indira Gandhi-declared Emergency. They will hold public meetings to talk about the excesses indulged by the then Congress government during this period.

The council of ministers is mobilised not only during occasions like yoga day and rakhsha bandhan but also when major policy decisions are taken. For instance, when Modi decided to demonetise high-value currency notes last November, he asked all NDA MPs to fan out across their constituencies over the weekend and drum up public support for the intended crackdown on black money. Similarly, NDA ministers have been asked to spread across the country in the first week of July – soon after the Goods and Services Tax is rolled out – to meet stakeholders and clarify whatever misconceptions they may have.

“It’s a novel idea to reach out to the people during important festivals and occasions. By sending ministers to every nook and corner of the country to spread the government’s message, the Prime Minister wants to change the notion that Delhi is India’s power centre,” said a senior BJP leader.

While these events keep ministers on their toes, many privately complain of fatigue and files left pending on their desk. However, nobody goes on record with their woes.

The trend of sending elected representatives across the country began in 2015, when the government completed its first year in power and Modi wanted its achievements highlighted among the people. The occasion was celebrated as Vikas Parv in 2016, with each minister visiting six to seven places.

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