Mumbai: Now, BJP wants BMC to permit Chhath puja

Updated: 13 November, 2020 07:33 IST | Chetna Sadadekar | Mumbai

Leaders claim while state government and civic body have been issuing guidelines and instructions before festivals, there is no word on this north Indian festival

Women offer Chhath puja prayers at Aarey lake in 2019. File pic
Women offer Chhath puja prayers at Aarey lake in 2019. File pic

In its continuing efforts to appease North Indians in the city, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) now wants the Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to issue guidelines for the upcoming Chhath puja festival. The state government and the civic body have been giving guidelines and instructions before festivities, but BJP leaders said that there has been no word over Chhath puja. In a letter written to Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani, BJP leaders have requested that artificial ponds be created for the festival.

Bihar and Jharkhand are where the festival is mainly celebrated, besides the eastern states of the country. However, restrictions have been imposed over the festival in Delhi and Kolkata by their governments. The festival where women fast and congregate near water bodies to offer prayers to the Sun God, is also celebrated in the city, owing to a large population of north Indians residing here.

For the past several years, the municipal corporation has granted permission for organizing Chhath puja. However, the BMC has not yet taken any concrete decision due to COVID-19 this year. Thus, to ensure that the north Indians get to perform their rituals, the BJP leaders said that they had to step in.

'Create artificial lakes'

In the letter written to the additional commissioner, the BJP leaders have compared Chhath puja to Ganeshutsav and Navratri. They have said that just as for Ganpati and Durgamata immersion in Navratri, artificial lakes / ponds were created, they should be created for Chhath puja. The letter also mentioned that necessary guidelines such as less than 100 people should be allowed to be present at the given site, wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing should be prepared to allow the rituals. BJP leader Bhalchandra Shirsat said, "We met Suresh Kakani and he promised to fix the necessary guidelines for Chhath puja within two days and to give such instructions to all assistant commissioners."

The civic body has been issuing instructions to people to be at home during Diwali so ensure there is no second wave in the city, but the demands from various political parties to ensure religious festivities are not affected , have put its officials in a fix.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Kakani was not available for comment.

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First Published: 13 November, 2020 07:09 IST

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