BJP, AAP and Congress Policy on Chhath Puja Celebrations

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New Delhi, October 26 (IANS): Before the MCD polls in Delhi, three political parties – Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC) seem to have resumed their political stake to seduce the Purvanchal community by engaging in a dispute over Chhath Puja feast.

It all started with an order from the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), dated September 30, in which restrictions were placed on the celebration of the important festival of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – Chhath, advising people to observe it at home rather than in public places.

BJP MP in northeast Delhi, Manoj Tiwari, was the first to take note. He said he would challenge the DDMA order if residents of Purvanchal (eastern end of Uttar Pradesh) were not allowed to celebrate their important outdoor festival. “We are prepared to meet all Covid-19 standards,” the actor and singer from Bhojpuri had said, adding that if the opening of every public space had not resulted in an increase in Covid cases, how could a festival, which is observed so hygienic, may contribute to the rise of positivity.

In order to gain more ground among community members, Tiwari also launched a “Rath Yatra” to mobilize people for what he called a “noble cause”. “We will force the Delhi government to listen to our voices,” he said.

During one of these processions outside the residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at Civil Lines, the BJP leader was injured after being hit by a water cannon and hospitalized at Safdarjung hospital.

It was after this that the AAP embarked on this religious and political melee with Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, writing to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, asking him to publish guidelines for Chhath celebrations in the city.

Subsequently, a series of letters were exchanged between the State and the Center involving Imran Hussain and Arvind Kejriwal of the AAP, Manoj Tiwari of the BJP and Anil Chaudhary of the Delhi Congress.

Delhi Congress also demonstrated in Chandgiram Akhara to protest the ban on the public event, from where protesters were to march to Kejriwal’s residence, but police arrested congressional protesters.

According to data from the 2019 general election, Purvanchalis – a term used to describe migrants from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh to Delhi – accounts for nearly a quarter of two crores of Delhi’s population.

In the 2015 parliamentary elections alone, the AAP gave tickets to 11 Purvanchalis, while the BJP and Congress presented only three and two Purvanchalis, respectively.

Not only that, but since the Kejriwal party came to power, it has ensured that Chhath ghats are created or put in place temporarily to allow for a smooth celebration of the festival.

Leaders of the three political parties IANS spoke to spoke in favor of Chhath Puja and agreed that celebrations should be allowed in the capital with strict adherence to Covid-19 guidelines.

The responsibility for the Chhath Puja celebrations now rests entirely with the DDMA who will take an appeal at their meeting on October 27th.


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