The BJP is going all out to court Poorvanchali voters of the city. The party has reiterated its pledge to develop river banks for Chhat puja and demand that the festival be declared a public holiday.
On Sunday, the party released its election manifesto in which it promised to construct washrooms and changing rooms at puja sites to aid the celebrations. These promises had earlier been made at the MCD budget session held in February.
Last year too, the BJP had demanded that Chhat puja be declared a public holiday but the state government had rejected the request. Releasing the party manifesto, president of Delhi BJP Vijender Gupta said fresh efforts will go into declaring Chhat puja a holiday.
However, this promise can prove to be a big challenge for the party as MCD’s list of public holidays and restricted holidays for 2012 is out and Chhat puja has already been marked as a restricted holiday. The calendar was signed by the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) in November last year.
According to some party workers, the holiday list is strictly followed. “Once a year begins, public holidays can be declared only where there is an emergency, for instance if a big leader dies,” said a party worker.
The BJP has been trying to appease the 30-40 lakh-strong Poorvanchali population of the city since last year. In October 2011, the BJP-led MCD had tried to declare Chhat puja a public holiday. Mayor Rajni Abbi had said she would personally look after the arrangements. But the Congress-led Delhi government had refused to budge on the issue.
Later, the Delhi government had declared Chhat Puja a restricted holiday and also reminded that it was in fact chief minister Sheila Dikshit who had thought of declaring the festival a restricted holiday way back in 2001.