Govindas will form pyramids for higher rewards on Friday with city mandals upping the prize money from last year.
At National Congress Party (NCP) leader Jitendra Awhad’s Sangharsh handi in Thane, the total prize money for govindas will soar above Rs1 crore, with Rs30 lakh being the highest prize for any group that can make a ten-tier pyramid. However, no group could claim the coveted prize last year and Jogeshwari’s Jai Jawan govinda group made nine tiers to win Rs15 lakh.
“I offer high prize money only to encourage govindas to give their best to break the handi,” said Awhad, who said that a Spanish team of 50 men will compete in the celebrations this year.
At NCP leader Sachin Ahir’s Sankalp Pratishtan in Worli, where Bollywood actors such as Hrithik Roshan and Esha Deol are expected, the prize money has doubled from last year. “The prize money totals to Rs60 lakh, and govinda groups making nine tiers will be awarded with Rs5 lakh,” said Ahir.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has also upped the prize money to Rs25 lakh from Rs20 lakh at Kalachowkie. The highest prize is Rs1.11 lakh, up from Rs99,000 last year. “Many felt that last year’s amount was too low,” said organiser Chetan Pednekar. At Thane’s Sanskruti Yuva Pratishtan handi, Sena leader Pratap Sarnaik is offering prizes of Rs1.5 crore. “The sum is about Rs25 lakh more than last year,” said Sarnaik.
But women govinda groups in the city say they have been given a raw deal. “Mandals are offering small cash prizes to women govindas even for a difficult five-tier pyramid,” said Mohini Sawant from Wadala’s Sri Ganesh Prathmik Shala govinda group that comprises over 70 members.