Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said on Sunday that the identity of the state, once known only for naxal menace, has changed since his government came to power

Baghel was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the three-day National Tribal Dance Festival, 2019, here.

He also announced that this festival will be held along with statehood celebrations in future. “In the last fifteen years (during the BJP rule), the identity of Chhattisgarh had disappeared. It was only mentioned in the context of Naxal activities. “But as soon as Congress government was formed, it began to work rapidly towards fulfilling the dreams of our ancestors and in keeping with the state’s glorious tradition and history,” Baghel said.

“We waived loans of farmers, procured paddy at Rs 2,500 per quintal, introduced Universal Public Distribution System to provide 35 kg rice to every family,” he said.

“Our forefathers envisaged a prosperous Chhattisgarh and a strong Chhattisgarh. In one year, we have worked with your support to realise their vision,” the CM said.

The national tribal dance festival will be held every year along with the Rajyotsav (statehood celebration), Baghel announced. “The Rajyotsav will be held for five days. On the first two days, local artists will showcase their talent. The dance festival will be held for the next three days,” he said. Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Nana Patole, who was present as special guest, said an initiative will be taken to organise such type of event in his state too.

Tribal dancers from across the country as well as six foreign countries presented folk dance forms in the festival. The winners got cash prize of Rs 5 lakh while second and third position-holders got Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively.

In ‘marriage and rituals’ category, Chhattisgarh’s dance troupe stood first followed by Jharkhand while the third prize was jointly won by Ladakh and Sikkim.

In ‘traditional festival and rituals’ category, Odisha bagged first position, Maharashtra second and Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand jointly secured third place.

In ‘harvesting of crops and agriculture’ category, Bihar grabbed first place, Uttar Pradesh second and Tripura and Tamil Nadu jointly got third place.