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Politicians compete to celebrate Ganeshotsav, Dahi handi in Mumbai

Both BJP and Shiv Sena have started petitioning the state, asking for several rules to be relaxed during the festivals, while the MNS is busy holding meetings with mandals

mumbai Updated: Jul 23, 2017 00:48 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Ganeshotsav,Dahi handi
During Ganpati festival, it has always been the Shiv Sena dominating public celebrations, until a few years ago. Almost all top Sena leaders have headed mandals. (For representation)

Political parties in the city are in a race to make their presence felt during the Ganpati and Dahi Handi festivals next month.

Both BJP and Shiv Sena have started petitioning the state, asking for several rules to be relaxed during the festivals, while the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is busy holding meetings with mandals — which wield significant influence among the people and whose members and volunteers serve as foot soldiers during election campaigns.

The BJP led the pack, with Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar organising a competition for Dahi Handi mandals before the festival and offering attractive prizes for participants.

Politicians are also planning to give out t-shirts, refreshments and cash prizes, and arrange for trucks to transport revelers.

The Sena, meanwhile, took potshots at the other parties for only thinking of poll benefits.

“We have been celebrating these festivals right from the inception of our party. The others have jumped in keeping elections in mind and they hardly matter to us,” Sena leader Anil Parab said. For years, the Sena had a monopoly over Dahi Handi, which played an important role in its growth. In the past few years, however, the BJP has been making its presence felt.

Even during Ganpati, it has always been the Sena dominating public celebrations, until a few years ago. Almost all top Sena leaders have headed mandals. The BJP and other parties are trying to break the monopoly through donations.

“Political parties are not interested in any cultural event and their entire aim is to get political mileage. It helps them attract people and garner votes,” said Prakash Bal, a political commentator.

First Published: Jul 23, 2017 00:48 IST