Who has better cultural presence? Political parties line up Gudi Padwa events in Mumbai
From traditional wear, to all-women bike rallies, political parties are racing for a better new year’s show
Political parties are competing against each other to stage a better cultural show on Gudi Padwa, the Maharashtrian new year. While traditional processions are part of the itinerary for many, others have organised pujas and cultural shows.
Most of the parties have men wearing kurta pyjamas and women in sarees.
Take the case of Shiv Sena minister Ravindra Waikar. He has organised a bike rally for women at Jogeshwari. Women will ride the bikes in sarees and traditional headgears. In addition, he has also organised dance competitions where communities like the Kolis and Adivasis will perform.
“My effort is to encourage talented people,” said Waikar.
The Kalachowkie unit of the Sena has roped in various social and religious organisations to take part in a traditional procession which will be accompanied by the Puneri band.
In Vile-Parle, BJP legislator Parag Alvani is one of the main organisers of the Gudi Padwa festival. The theme for the event is New India — one of the party’s pet themes. There will be floats and mock drills depicting defence, social schemes, e-governance, tourism and economic initiatives. “We want to highlight the glorious tradition of India the country and issues like cashless transactions and surgical strikes,” said Alvani. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will attend the event.
In the past two years, there has been stiff competition between the BJP and Sena over celebration of festivals such as Ganeshotsava, Diwali and Dahi Handi. For years, the Sena had a virtual monopoly on such celebrations but BJP has caught on over the years.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has scheduled a puja at Shivaji Park where party members will celebrate Gudi Padwa in a traditional way. This year, MNS cancelled its annual rally as its chief, Raj Thackeray, is currently abroad for his son’s treatment.
According to political analysts, festivals are an ideal platform for political wings to spread branches across the state. “Political parties have been using this platform effectively as it connects them to the mass,” said political commentator Prakash Bal.