Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday announced that the first train for Ayodhya, under the free pilgrimage scheme, would depart from Delhi on December 3, and the registrations for the same have started.
The Chief Minister added that the free pilgrimage to the Vailankanni Church in Tamil Nadu has also been included in the list of places of pilgrimage under the free Teerth Yatra scheme for the benefit of senior citizens of the Christian community of Delhi.
All the expenses for the pilgrimage will be borne by the Delhi government under the Mukhya Mantri Teerth Yatra Yojna.
"Under the free pilgrimage scheme for senior citizens of Delhi, we are sending them to Ayodhya to have a darshan of Shri Ram Lalla. Our first train for Ayodhya will be leaving on December 3, registrations have started," said Mr Kejriwal during a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.
"We have also added Velankanni Church in Tamil Nadu to the list of pilgrimage sites covered under this free pilgrimage scheme for senior citizens of Delhi," he added.
Besides Delhi, the Chief Minister has made similar announcements in the poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Uttarakhand.
During his visit to Ayodhya on October 25-26, he made an announcement that if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is able to form a government in Uttar Pradesh in the 2022 assembly elections, he would make the Ram Lalla darshan in Ayodhya free for the people of Uttar Pradesh.
After this, Mr Kejriwal made a similar announcement for Goa as well. Addressing a press conference in Panaji on November 1, he had said, "If we form the government in Goa, we will provide free pilgrimage facility to the Hindus here to Ayodhya". He also announced free visits to Ajmer Sharif and Shirdi temple.
On November 21, Mr Kejriwal had said, "For the people of Uttarakhand who wish to go to Ayodhya, I declare that if the government is formed here, we will start the same scheme as Delhi and make visit to Ayodhya free for the people of Uttarakhand. Also, there will be a provision of Ajmer Sharif for Muslim brothers and Kartarpur for Sikh brothers".
The AAP is aggressively campaigning in six states - Goa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab - where assembly elections are due next year.