Mumbai’s dahi handi: BJP, Congress, Sena set to woo youth with DJs, celebs and cash prizes | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai’s dahi handi: BJP, Congress, Sena set to woo youth with DJs, celebs and cash prizes

The Bombay high court’s refusal to impose height and age restrictions on dahi handi on Monday has given a boost to dahi handi celebrations in the city

mumbai Updated: Aug 08, 2017 10:02 IST
Naresh Kamath
For years, the Sena had a monopoly over the festival, which played an important role in its growth.
For years, the Sena had a monopoly over the festival, which played an important role in its growth.(FILE)

The Bombay high court’s refusal to impose height and age restrictions on dahi handi on Monday has given a boost to dahi handi celebrations in the city.

From DJs and artificial showers to Bollywood celebrities and cash prizes, political parties across the city are making grand plans for the day (August 15). “We will hold the tallest dahi handi in India,” said BJP legislator Ram Kadam, who came into public life through the festival.

Why it matters
  • For political parties, dahi handi is an important festival which helps them connect with youngsters, who help them during campaigning and influence voters in their localities
  • Political parties try to make the most of the opportunity by offering a range of goodies -- from T-shirts and refreshments to cash prizes and trucks to transport the revelers
  • Last year, the height of the pyramids was restricted to 20ft
  • This acted as a dampener, toning down the festivities

The leader,in 2009, refused to cancel the celebrations even though the city was gripped by swine flu and major organisers had backed off.

Wadala Congress legislator Kalidas Kolambkar announced a cash prize of Rs5.50 lakh for winners. “More than 450 groups participate in the event. The prizes will depend on the height they scale,” said Kolambkar, who had also arranged for artificial showers to drench the revellers.

Read: Won’t curb dahi handi revelry, mishaps occur even in toilets, says Bombay HC

Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik called it the victory of “Hindu culture”. “We will celebrate the festival in a traditional manner, but with all the fanfare,” said Sarnaik.

For years, the Sena had a monopoly over the festival, which played an important role in its growth. In the past few years, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) stole the show with high-profile celebrations by leaders such as Sachin Ahir and Jitendra Awhad. Awhad even invited foreigners to take part in the celebrations.

“We will celebrate it on a grand scale again,” said Awhad, adding demonetisation and economic slowdown may bring down the cash prizes.

Read: How is Dahi Handi an adventure sport: Bombay HC asks Maharashtra govt