Janmashtami Dahi Handi
On Thursday, the Maharashtra government decided to accord adventure sport status to Dahi Handi, CM Shinde announced in the Assembly. Representational image: Twitter

Janmashtami: It’s Sena vs Sena in Maharashtra over Dahi Handi events

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It is Shiv Sena versus Shiv Sena in Maharashtra today (August 19) on the occasion of Janmashtami, the festival to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and former CM Uddhav Thackeray’s factions are organising Dahi Handi events in the state and have already put up hoardings, banners, photos and posters.

Both Sena sides are organising the events in the names of Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray and late Sena leader from Thane Anand Dighe, whom Shinde considers as his mentor.

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Thane, the home turf of CM Shinde, will witness Dahi Handi events being organised by his faction as well as the Thackeray-led Sena. There are events in Mumbai and other places as well.

On his personal Twitter account, Shinde wished everyone on the occasion of Janmashtami. “Happy Gopalkala festival to all of you… #Dahihandi #Gopalkala,” he wrote.

Adventure sport tag

On Thursday, the Maharashtra government decided to accord adventure sport status to Dahi Handi, Shinde announced in the Assembly.

The adventure sport tag will allow young participants (called Govindas) in Dahi Handi events, organised to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna, to apply for government jobs under the sports quota.

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“The Maharashtra government has decided to recognise formation of human towers as part of Dahi Handi celebrations as an adventure sport. With this recognition, the players will become eligible to apply for government jobs under the sports quota,” Shinde said in the Lower House.

In case of unfortunate death of a participant during the formation of human pyramids, his/her kin would get ₹10 lakh as compensation from the state government. A player suffering serious injuries would receive ₹7 lakh, while one with fractures would be paid ₹5 lakh, he said.

Supporters of both sides have made preparations to attract maximum crowds for the Dahi Handi, where youngsters called Govindas, dressed in colourful attire, make human pyramid to reach an earthen pot containing buttermilk and hung mid-air, and break it.

This year, the supporters of Shinde have put up a Dahi Handi at Tembhi Naka, while the rival camp of Thane MP Rajan Vichare is organising a similar event just about 200 metres away at Jambli Naka in Thane city.

Kalyan MP Shrikant Shinde, who is the CM’s son, and former Thane mayor Naresh Mhaske told reporters on Wednesday that their Handi depicts respect. Shrikant too took to Twitter to talk about the festival and Dahi Handi.

On the other side, Vichare said theirs reflect loyalty, unity, culture, and the voice of Hindutva.

Also read: Don’t play with sentiments of Shiv Sainiks, Sena deputy leader tells Eknath Shinde faction

Thane police have made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the festival.

Prize money

Shrikant Shinde and Mhaske said the winning team of their events in Thane and Mumbai will get ₹2.51 lakh each.

The parliamentarian also said he would make efforts to get Dahi Handi included in the adventurous sports category.

Vichare said the winning team at their event will get a prize of ₹1.11 lakh.

He said there will be arrangements of safety ropes, doctors will be on standby and beds reserved in hospitals in case of any eventuality.

He also said that besides participants, the audience will also be insured.

Local organisation Swami Pratishthan is organising another Dahi Handi carrying total prize money of ₹51 lakh, including ₹11 lakh for the winning team.

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The MNS has also announced total prize money of ₹55 lakh for a Dahi Handi event being organised by it and that the winning team may also get a chance to go to Spain.

Another Dahi Handi event to be held by an organisation of Thane Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik carries total prize money of ₹21 lakh.

(With Agency inputs)

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