New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah witnessed the burning of the effigy of demon king Ravana on the occasion of Dussehra at the Parade Ground here on Thursday.
“Dussehra is a symbol of our ancient culture and we should forget our differences and work towards nation building. That will be our victory. I appeal to the people to maintain unity and integrity of the nation and contribute to the country’s development,” Mukherjee said in his brief speech.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also invited for the celebrations but he could not attend as he has travelled to Andhra Pradesh where he laid the foundation stone for its capital city Amaravati.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and union minister Harsh Vardhan were also present on the occasion along with other dignitaries.
At a separate venue at the Ramlila Ground, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval witnessed the ‘Ravan Dahan’ (burning of Ravana’s effigy).
The effigies of Ravana’s son Meghnad and brother Kumbhkaran were set ablaze by firing a flame tipped arrow, marking the victory of good over evil.
The burning of giant effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhkaran is the centre of attraction during Dussehra celebrations.