The one-upmanship over Chhath celebration involving the ruling AAP and opposition BJP intensified on Sunday with saffron party MP Parvesh Verma asserting to defy the ban on celebrating the festival at Yamuna banks and challenging Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to stop him if he can.
Meanwhile, some Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators staged a protest accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of stopping them from preparing a Chhath ghat at Dwarka.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has prohibited Chhath Puja on the banks of the Yamuna this year.
The AAP and BJP leaders have been involved in a war of words over Chhath for the last several days.
The festival assumes political significance as Purvanchalis (natives of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) who are settled in Delhi and celebrate the festival are a major vote bank in the city.
Verma, the BJP MP from west Delhi, alleged that Kejriwal has “prohibited” celebration of Chhath at Yamuna ghats which is unacceptable.
“I will be accompanied by Purvanchali brothers and sisters and we will clean the Chhath ghat at ITO and start the puja. I challenge Arvind Kejriwal to stop us if he can,” Verma said.
Meanwhile, AAP MLAs Sanjeev Jha and Vinay Mishra, who staged a protest in Dwarka demanding that a Chhath ghat be constructed there, alleged that the BJP was trying to obstruct Chhath Puja in the city.
“The BJP at many places in Delhi is stopping Purvanchalis from preparing Chhath ghats to obstruct the Chhath Puja. The AAP MLA and volunteers have come forward to construct Chhath ghat in Dwarka in response to this,” tweeted Jha who is the AAP legislator from Burari.
The tussle between the AAP and BJP started with DDMAs September 30 order prohibiting celebration of Chhath at public places this year due to COVID-19.
Delhi BJP leaders, including northeast MP Manoj Tiwari, launched an agitation against the order and claimed that the Kejriwal government was responsible for the ban.
Tiwari even took out a Rath Yatra in Purvanchali populated areas of the city to put pressure on Delhi government for lifting the ban.
Kejriwal, who had earlier supported the ban at public places in view of safety of people, wrote a letter to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal in October to allow Chhath Puja in Delhi.
The DDMA had last week allowed Chhath celebrations at “designated sites” excluding Yamuna banks in Delhi in a meeting attended by Baijal and Kejriwal while the Delhi government declared November 10 a public holiday on Chhath festival.
Chhath, celebrated after Diwali by people belonging to Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh, involves the offering of Arghya by fasting women to the Sun god in knee-deep water. It involves elaborate rituals spanning over three days.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)