Delhi govt set to declare Chhath Puja a public holiday

  • Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 28, 2014 00:59 IST

The Delhi government is all set to declare Chhath as a public holiday. A notification in this connection will be issued on Tuesday, sources said.

“The chief secretary and the Lieutenant Governor have approved the file and a notification in this regard will be issued tomorrow,” said a senior Delhi government official. Sources in the government said that all Delhi government offices will be shut on Wednesday unlike last year when it was a restricted holiday.

For the past few years, the national Capital has been witnessing a tug of war between the BJP and the Congress over the issue of declaring Chhath puja a public holiday.

With the Delhi assembly elections appearing to be a possibility, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday raised the issue once again with the Delhi chief secretary. According to an estimate, there are more than 40 lakh Purvanchalis living in Delhi and they play a crucial role in deciding the fate of many assembly seats.

According to senior BJP leaders, all the party MPs from Delhi played a crucial role in ensuring that Chhath was declared a public holiday.

“A number of Purvanchali voters had started drifting away from the party and as the party first gave a ticket to a person who is a Purvanchali - Manoj Tiwari - they have started coming back. Now that the party has ensured that Chhath Puja is declared a holiday we are sure it will have an impact,” said a senior BJP leader.

In its manifesto also, the Delhi BJP had promised declaring Chhath puja a public holiday. “There are more than 40 lakh Purvanchalis residing in Delhi and keeping their sentiments in mind we have asked the Delhi government to declare a holiday on Chhath puja. We have also asked the Delhi chief secretary to make the best possible arrangement for Chhath puja too,” said Satish Upadhyay, Delhi BJP chief.

The state unit of the BJP has been demanding this for the past 20 years but former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit had expressed her inability to declare it a public holiday and had declared it as a restricted holiday. Delhi Congress had maintained Dikshit was the first chief minister to have started the restricted holiday trend on Chhath Puja in year 2001.

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