LG approves Chhath puja at designated Yamuna ghats
New Delhi Delhi lieutenant governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Wednesday approved the proposal to hold Chhath puja at designated ghats on the Yamuna, but cautioned chief minister Arvind Kejriwal against “misleading and premature publicity”
New Delhi Delhi lieutenant governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Wednesday approved the proposal to hold Chhath puja at designated ghats on the Yamuna, but cautioned chief minister Arvind Kejriwal against “misleading and premature publicity”.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) hit back, accusing the LG of “lowering the dignity of the chair he occupies” by his public reprimands of the chief minister.
In his approval order, Saxena said, “I approve the proposal for allowing Chhath ghats at the designated river Yamuna Ghats... Further I consider it important to place on record my serious concern regarding the pre-mature publicity made by CM regarding the celebration... The publicity on the issue was done even before the matter was placed for my consideration and before I could formulate an independent opinion on the subject.”
Kejriwal had in an October 21 tweet said that Chhath will be celebrated on the ghats of the Yamuna, and orders have been issued to officials to ensure that arrangements are made so that the river is not polluted.
The note says Kejriwal’s tweet was problematic as it violates the basic principle of the scheme of governance. “…Premature publicity of the decision creates interests and thus influences the decision-making process independently in the matter which is extremely sensitive as it related to religious beliefs,” it says.
Saxena has also directed the revenue and environment departments to ensure strict enforcement of the National Green Tribunal’s orders on pollution, officials in the LG’s office said. The revenue department is the nodal agency for Chhath arrangements, which works in close coordination with other government departments and civic agencies to organise the festivities.
In response to the LG’s note, the AAP in an official statement said, “We strongly object to the language used by LG for Hon’ble CM. He is lowering the dignity of the chair he occupies by publicly abusing Hon’ble CM everyday. Hon’ble CM is an elected representative who has been elected for the third consecutive time with historic margins. LG has no business to publicly reprimand Hon’ble CM everyday. LG is hungry for cheap publicity and wants to see his name in newspapers everyday.”
Chhath, the most popular festival for people from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh (popularly known as Purvanchalis in Delhi), will be celebrated between October 30 and 31. It involves the offering of “arghya” by fasting devotees to the Sun god in knee-deep water.
Over the last decade, Chhath has become one of the major festivals in Delhi, with the Purvanchalis accounting for over one-third of Delhi’s population of around 20 million, according to government estimates and migration data from Census 2011.
From just 72 ghats in 2015, the number of Chhath ghats in Delhi has risen to 1,108 in 2019 before restrictions were imposed after the onset of the Covid pandemic. With the impact of Covid waning, the festival is once again expected to be celebrated with full fervour. With MCD elections expected to be held in upcoming months, all political parties will attempt to woo the electorate.