Prez Kovind, PM Modi pay tributes to Gandhi, Shastri

Prez Kovind, PM Modi pay tributes to Gandhi, Shastri

President Ram Nath Kovind pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his birth anniversary at Rajghat, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Oct 02, 2018. (PTI Photo)

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat on his 149th birth anniversary, urging the people to rededicate themselves to the values espoused by the leader and fulfil his dreams.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi also paid homage to the father of the nation at his iconic memorial here amid the strains of 'bhajans'.

Kovind and Modi also greeted people on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and urged people to imbibe the values he stood for.

"Homage to Bapu on #GandhiJayanti. Let us rededicate ourselves to the values espoused by Mahatma Gandhi - peace, fraternity, harmony and inclusive national development. Gandhiji's message remains relevant for all and he continues to be our guiding light," the President tweeted.

Modi also took to Twitter to extol the virtues of Gandhi, who led the nation to freedom, riding a path of non-violence.

"The noble thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi have given strength to millions across the world. He was a stalwart who lived for others and to make our world a better place. Paid tributes to Bapu at Rajghat this morning. #Gandhi150," he said and shared pictures of Rajghat.

The birth anniversary of Gandhiji is a wonderful opportunity to come together and fulfil his dreams, the prime minister said.

The government has planned grand celebrations to mark the 150th year of Gandhi's anniversary which would culminate on October 2, 2019.

The Congress chief was among the first of the senior leaders to pay homage to Gandhi at his solemn memorial this morning which was bedecked with flowers.

Both Rahul and Sonia left immediately as they were to travel to Wardha for the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meet.

The president, the vice president and the prime minister also visited Vijay Ghat Tuesday morning to pay tributes to former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on his birth anniversary.

"Remembering our former Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri ji on his birth anniversary. His integrity, wartime leadership and role in the shaping of the Green Revolution remains an inspiration for the entire country #PresidentKovind," Kovind tweeted.

Modi also paid homage at the Vijay Ghat and tweeted, "Lal Bahadur Shastri Ji epitomised strength and simplicity. He led India at a crucial time and worked hard to make our nation more prosperous."

At the Rajghat, several other leaders, foreign diplomats, senior government officials joined in paying tribute to the Mahatma.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia, who arrived soon after Rahul Gandhi, paid floral tribute to Gandhiji.

Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, senior BJP leader L K Advani also paid tributes to Gandhi on the occasion.

An inter-faith prayer ceremony was also observed to promote the spirit of peace, amity and communal harmony as espoused in Mahatma's principles of 'Sarva Dharma Sambhav'.

The prayer began with a four-minute-long Buddhist chant followed by prayers of Bahai and Christian faith, in that order. The Christian prayers then segued into slokas from the Hindu scripture and invoking of values espoused in Islam, symbolising communal harmony that Gandhi always asked people to practice in letter and spirit.

Faith leaders from Jain, Jewish, Parsi and Sikh community followed in succession with 4-minute-long prayer each. The Sikh prayer of Tujh bin aur na jina mera saiban touched many a heart at the venue, as many sat with eyes closed in meditative pose.

It was then followed by five-minute-long Gita Paath, Gandhi Vichar (Gandhian Thoughts). A seven-minute bhajan was next and the session was rounded up with soulful renditions of Vaishnav Janato and Ram Dhun.