To woo Purvanchalis, political leaders flock to Chhath ghats
The MLAs, sub-divisional magistrates and officers of the irrigation and flood control department were directed to be on special duty at the ghats till the festival ended on Friday morning.delhi Updated: Oct 27, 2017 00:13 IST
On the eve of the final Chhath Puja ritual, leaders of three major political parties—the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress-- descended on ghats and other locations on Thursday evening.
On chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s directions, all six ministers were present at the ghats throughout the day, overseeing the arrangements. Kejriwal himself went to many spots for inspections.
The MLAs, sub-divisional magistrates and officers of the irrigation and flood control department were directed to be on special duty at the ghats till the festival ended on Friday morning.
“You came from different parts of UP and Bihar to work in Delhi and later the city became your home. You all have contributed a lot to the development of the city like we have been doing for the past two-and-a-half years,” Kejriwal told the devotees in Sagarpur.
Delhi has about 40 lakh Purvanchalis, roughly 33% of the electoral population. For obvious reasons, politics underscores the festival as the AAP and BJP are trying to outdo each other by making extensive arrangements for the devotees.
The Congress, which was the first to tap into the Purvanchali votes, has accused its rivals of politicising the festival.
The BJP and Congress deployed a battery of prominent leaders who attended cultural programmes followed by evening prayers on Thursday. The four-day festivities culminates on Friday morning with worshippers offering water to the rising Sun.
Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari took a boat ride on the Yamuna from Sonia Vihar to Jagatpuri to visit the ghats. He was accompanied by the party’s national vice president and state affairs in-charge Shyam Jaju and sacked AAP leader Kapil Mishra, an MLA from Karawal Nagar.
Addressing the gathering, Tiwari said Chhath is not only a religious festival but an opportunity to pledge for environmental protection.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said unhygienic and broken ghats proved the government and civic bodies failed to make adequate arrangements this year.
“Shoddy preparations prove the AAP government and BJP-run civic bodies failed to discharge their duties. Tiwari must tell us why he failed to get additional water in the Yamuna in time from neighbouring Haryana where his party is in power. During Congress rule, extra water was released thrice a week before the final celebration,” he said.
Maken and former west Delhi MP Mahabal Mishra, Poonam Azad, and Shivji Singh, head of the Purvanchal Cell, attended functions organised by people from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pardesh in different parts of the city.
Before visiting the ghat at ITO, Maken participated in cultural events at Baljeet Nagar, Wazirabad and Narela.
“The Delhi government and MCDs, instead of making proper and timely arrangements for the Puja, tried to politicize the issue to gain cheap political mileage, and as a result, the devotees had to put up with considerable inconvenience at the ghats,” Maken said.