Delhi CM, cabinet ministers perform 'Diwali pujan' at Akshardham temple

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New Delhi, Nov 14 (PTI) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accompanied by his wife and cabinet colleagues performed 'Diwali Pujan' in a grand ceremony held at Akshardham temple on Saturday.

Kejriwal had urged people not to burst crackers due to rising pollution level and its impact on COVID-19, and had appealed them to join him in the 'Diwali Pujan' programme that was telecast live through TV channels and social media platforms.

'Today my family of two crore Delhi people together performed Diwali Pujan. Prayed for happiness, health and prosperity of all. May there be well being of all,' Kejriwal tweeted after the programme. Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, many AAP MPs and MLAs and senior officers of the Delhi government were part of the 'Diwali Pujan' ceremony.

The priests chanted 'mantras' invoking blessings of deities for the wellbeing of people, while the chief minister and his ministers performed rituals.

Noted singer Anoop Jalota rendered 'bhajans' accompanying 'arti' and lighting of 'diyas' on the occasion.

'Entire Delhi together performed Diwali Pujan today. The pious sound of chanting mantras created marvellous vibes and all the visible and invisible forces blessed Delhi people,' said a tweet from the Chief Minister's office.

Ahead of Diwali, the Delhi government last week had banned all types of firecrackers till November 30 in the city, after a COVID-19 review meeting chaired by the chief minister.

The COVID-19 cases have increased in Delhi due to the ongoing festival season and pollution, the chief minister had said, announcing the ban and had appealed to the people not to burst crackers.

The air quality in the city has reached alarming levels due to various factors, including burning of paddy stubble in the neighbouring states.

The chief minister on Friday expressed concern over the growing COVID-19 cases and claimed that pollution was the 'biggest' reason behind rise in such infections.

Delhi recorded 7,053 fresh COVID-19 cases in a day, taking the infection tally in the national capital to over 4.67 lakh on Thursday, while 104 more fatalities in a same period, the highest in over five months, pushed the death toll to 7,332, authorities said.

The national capital had recorded its highest single-day spike of 8,593 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while 85 deaths linked to the disease were recorded on that day.

Kejriwal had said the COVID-19 situation in the national capital should come under control in seven to 10 days as his government was considering initiating several steps next week to arrest the spread of the disease in the city. PTI VIT TDS TDS