You need not wait until Gokulashtami next month to enjoy the dahi handi festival.
You can experience the festivities much earlier as political parties are organising pre-dahi handi rehearsals across the city.
The events are organised at night and have DJs playing loud music, water showers and celebrities visiting, just like the real event. Politicians pamper the govindas, who break the earthen pot filled with curds, are pampered with cash prizes and gifts. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has named its event ‘Chor Govinda’. It will be held at Shivaji Nagar, Worli, on August 28. Ajinkya Naik, district president of the MNS, said approximately 100 teams will take part in this event. “This is basically a practice session for govindas and prizes are given to encourage them,” Naik said.
The party is organising one more ‘practice session’ at Sewri the next day and has invited Marathi film stars, Bharat Jadhav, Siddharth Jadhav and Atul Parchure.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has organised its pre-dahi handi event on August 22 near Ganesh Talkies at Lalbaug with its affiliate organisation, Amar Pratisthan.
The event will offer prizes starting at Rs 500 plus gifts. “This is the best way to get publicity and increase our voter base,” said Ganesh Adivdekar, secretary of the NCP’s youth wing. The attractions will be NCP leaders Sachin Ahir and Jitendra Awhad, who organise the festival on a large scale every year.
The dahi handi festival is popular one among Maharashtrians and no political party can afford to take this section of the electorate for granted because it is plays an important role in the poll process.
Prathamesh Kolambkar, son of Congress legislator Kalidas Kolambkar, is organising the event on August 29 at Naigaum with the organisation, Swabhimaan, run by Revenue Minister Narayan Rane’s son, Nitesh. “This is to encourage our boys, who work throughout the year. We have to take care of them,” Prathamesh said.
The Shiv Sena is also organising such events across the city but on a smaller scale. Sena corporator Nana Ambole accused other parties of copying the Sena’s concept. “Since most govindas travel to places such as Thane to attempt big tasks, people here are deprived of the fun. Our aim is to give them an opportunity to enjoy here,” Ambole said.