Chandanwadi cha Raja, a mandal from Girgaum, used Ganeshotsav to urge pro-Vidarbha activists to dissolve their protest for a separate state.
For the devotees visiting the pandal, the mandal plays an audio-visual on a projector highlighting the idea of ‘Akhand Maharashtra’.
“We want people to understand the idea of a unified state, its benefits and the loss of the land is divided,” said Tejesh Sakpal, vice-president of the mandal.
The theme is significant in the light of the press conference called by activists demanding statehood for Vidarbha which was disrupted by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
The Centre merged Vidarbha, the central provinces and Berar with Maharashtra on May 1, 1960, a move that still evokes resentment among residents.
“We have highlighted facts through a timeline, showing how stalwarts of freedom movement upheld the value of unity during troubled times,” said Sakpal.
Some welcomed the theme, while others though it was politically motivated, considering the civic polls are less than six months away.
“Some of the oldest residents of the city live in south Mumbai. When Bombay state was dissolved into Gujarat and Maharashtra on linguistic lines in 1960, there was a loss of culture and tradition that existed before the British rule,” said Aadesh Dhodi, resident of Girgaum. “Separating Vidarbha would lead to something similar.”
Another resident of Kalbadevi said, “The way the mandal has projected the importance of unity is noteworthy. However, it is being done to capture votes in light of the upcoming elections in Mumbai.”