Dahi Handi festival celebrations will remain a low-key affair due to non-participation of political parties.
Political parties are likely to stay away from the Dahi Handi celebrations after two youth lost their lives while practicing for the event. The festival which is organized with much fervor will lose its sheen this year due to the absence of political parties and huge supporters. Activists have been demanding that high court must intervene in this matter ever since two youth lost their lives while practicing for Dahi Handi festival. The Bombay High Court has ordered that only those above the age of 18 can participate in the pitcher breaking competition. The court has also has restricted the height at which handi’s can be strung to 20 feet.
Political parties used to lure voters during Dahi Handi festival by announcing lumpsum cash prizes for winners of the competition. Even hoardings of many parties used to be visible on this occasion. Political parties want to stay away from any kind of controversy which might affect their performance in forthcoming assembly election and hence are staying away from the celebration.
Pratap Sarnaik Dahi Handi in Thane is famous for organizing high profile Dahi Handi and also offers lumpsum money as prize amount to winners. This time around they won’t be organizing the event.
Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik and organizer said, “From this year onwards Sanskruti Yuva Pratishthan won’t organize the much hyped Dahi handi event. I didn’t realize when this festival of enthusiasm turned into an event of unfortunate deaths and mishaps.”
He further added, “I was deeply hurt after hearing the news about the death of two youth while practicing for Dahi Handi competition. We will celebrate the festivals by providing head gears and safety belt to the govindas.”
Congress MLA Krishna Hegde too organizes Dahi Handi competition and the presence of celebrities makes it more popular. However, Hegde has called off the celebrations this time due to death of two youth.
“We won’t be celebrating Dahi Handi festival due to the death of two youth and many others succumbing to injuries while practicing for the event. Often minor’s participate in the event and it becomes difficult to monitor them. Therefore, we have called of Dahi Handi celebrations this time” said Hegde.
On other hand, NCP leader Jitendra Ahwad is likely to go ahead with the Dahi Handi celebrations as it depicts the culture of the state.
Jitendra Ahwad said, “We have been celebrating this festival since long time back. We will follow the guidelines issued by the Bombay High Court while organizing the event.”
A close source of Jitendra Ahwad said, “Since assembly election is just round the corner so it’s a good opportunity for him to woo the voters by organizing Dahi Handi festival. He doesn’t want to hurt the sentiments of people by calling of the celebration.”
The Bombay High Court also suggested a safety kit including helmet, cushion, belts and jackets be provided to the govindas. Citing that many govindas’ suffer permanent injuries and also die while participating in these competitions the High Court warned that any organisation breaking the rules would be taken to task.