Ahmedabad: Amid tight security and much fanfare, the 141st Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad, Gujarat started off early Saturday morning. Devotees started to pour in from Friday night itself at the 460-year old Jagannath Temple in Jamalpur to participate in the procession and seek lord Jagannath’s blessings.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) national president Amit Shah had attended the ‘Mangla Aarti’ at the Jagannath Temple at 4:30 AM in the morning. Later, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel had participated in the Pahind Vidhi ritual of the Yatra, where the route of the chariots is swept clean using a golden broom.

The Ahmedabad Police has been on their toes for past week leading up to the day of the Yatra, conducting security drills and making security arrangements to thwart chances of any untoward incident from happening during the procession. A helium balloon with a high definition camera mounted to it will be keeping an eye on the procession. The video surveillance will be live streamed to a special control room set up to monitor the route of the Yatra. More than 20,000 police and other security personnel will be guarding the whole route and the adjoining areas during the procession.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Greetings on the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra. With the blessings of Lord Jagannath, may our country scale new heights of growth. May every Indian be happy and prosperous. Jai Jagannath!”

Amit Shah had later in the day addressed a gathering of students and teaching professionals at the ‘Youth Parliament of India- A dialogue of Democracy’ held at Karnavati University in Gandhinagar. The event was also attended by CM Rupani, Dy CM Nitin Patel, state home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja and Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani. This two-day event will see the who’s who of the Indian politics and administration, attend and deliver talks and seminars to participating students.

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