Mumbai unit of BJP claimed that the state government was fully prepared to extend all administrative support to lakhs of devotees, who are scheduled to celebrate Chhath Puja at Juhu beach on November 17 and 18.
Mumbai BJP’s general secretary Amarjeet Mishra said the government was ready to facilitate Chhath devotees but within the purview of the court ruling, which is expected to tone down the celebrations this year.
On October 23, the Bombay High Court had upheld a Mumbai suburban collector’s decision that prohibited celebrities from taking part in Chhath Puja celebrations at the Juhu beach, questioning the need to invite them and for song and dance during the rituals.
“The (Chhath) rituals, unfortunately, have been politicised in the recent years, which is why High Court had to step in. I met our Cultural Minister Vinod Tawde and apprised him about the possible inconvenience to devotees in wake of the court ruling. Tawde ji immediately spoke to Collector and instructed to make all arrangements to facilitate the devotees.”
Chhath Puja also called ‘Dala Puja’ is a Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun God. It is popular in the North and Eastern Indian states of Bihar and UP.
During the two-day festival, devotees observe fast and make offerings to the Sun God near a pond or sea.
Over the years, during Chhath celebrations in Mumbai, few political leaders as organisers started inviting celebrities to the festival and this distorted its original essence.
“Had these leaders taken some restraint in inviting celebrities and maintained the sanctity of the festival then this situation would not have arisen,” said Mohan Mishra, vice-president of North-Indian cell of Mumbai BJP.
“This is the festival of faith and purity. What is the point in inviting comedians and film personalities to this Puja, who make a mockery of it,” he asked.