Assuming that devotees seeking darshan would dwindle at the beginning of the workday week, people flocked to Lalbaugcha Raja's altar yesterday, leading to chaos
Instead of thinking holy and pious thoughts while queuing up for a glimpse of the Lalbaugcha Raja in the navasachi line, devotees were heard cursing volunteers and committee members of the mandal yesterday, as they complained about the severe mismanagement of the crowds.
The special line for relatives of volunteers and mandal members was as long as the serpentine navasachi queue for regular visitors; darshan was delayed by almost 4-5 hours yesterday
The lengthy pilgrimage, which usually takes between 16 and 17 hours, took nearly 23 hours yesterday. Authorities acceded that they had made a grievous miscalculation of the expected footfall, assuming fallaciously that the beginning of the workday week meant a slump in the crowds.
Adding to the mayhem was the fact that volunteers and mandal members had brought all their sundry relatives for special entry into the inner sanctum, as a result of which the crowds within the pandal multiplied, causing the mukhdarshan line outside to come to a grinding halt.
Pandemonium reigned, with many visitors demanding entry, claiming that they were relatives of committee members and volunteers.
Authorities appeared to be completely ill-equipped to handle the teeming multitudes who had flocked to the mandal.
One of the committee members said, requesting anonymity, "It is extremely chaotic. Not only the devotees, but we too miscalculated today's footfall, assuming that people had gone back to their offices, since it was a weekday. We had been asked not to bring our relatives here during the weekend, so we brought them along today."
"The space in front of the idol was packed beyond capacity, even though there were no celebrities present. We assumed that the crowds would abate as it was a weekday, and also because it was the designated day for the immersion of five-day Ganpatis across the city.
The cops have passed the stern injunction that no relatives will be given special privileges any more," said Rajendra Lanjwal, treasurer of the Lalbaugcha Raja Ganeshotsav Mandal.
I have been standing in queue for 19 hours. The line refuses to budge. I don't understand what the problem is. It is uncharacteristic for such an overwhelming number of people to converge here for darshan on a Monday.
Aarti Kamath, Parel resident
I used my father's reference to gain entry into the pandal, but the crowds inside are unimaginable. Perhaps the general line for mukhdarshan would be moving faster.
Sailee Surve, volunteer's son