Politcs over Chhath Puja has intensified in Delhi with the BJP and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accusing each other of trying to create tension over the issue.
The AAP on Saturday accused the BJP of not letting 'Purvanchalis' prepare 'ghats' required to perform rituals pertaining to the festival. The BJP hit back accusing the AAP of making “provocative statements”.
What’s the issue?
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) prohibited celebrations of Chhath Puja on the banks of the Yamuna this year.
The DDMA issued an order on September 30 prohibiting the celebration of Chhath at public places due to the threat of Covid-19. The Authority said Puja celebrations will be allowed at designated sites in the city, except on the banks of the river Yamuna.
What’s Chhath Puja?
Chhath is celebrated after Diwali by people belonging to Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. It involves the offering of 'Arghya' by fasting women to the Sun god in knee-deep water. It involves elaborate rituals spanning over three days.
What AAP Says
AAP legislator Sanjeev Jha while addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday said, "If they (BJP) continue playing dirty politics over Chhath Puja, Purvanchalvasi (People who hail from Purvanchal region of Uttar Pradesh) will not forgive them.”
Jha requested L-G Anil Baijal to allow Chhath Puja celebrations on the banks of the Yamuna, saying ghats (banks) are cleaned before the devotees perform rituals.
"At the behest of the BJP, however, L-G sahab issued an order barring Chhath Puja celebrations at Yamuna banks," the AAP MLA alleged.
"The BJP is now trying to prevent the celebration of Chhath Puja at DDA and municipal corporations' land in Delhi. It's clear that the BJP hates Purvanchalvasi," he charged.
Jha alleged that authorities are not letting devotees prepare ghats for Chhath Puja at various locations in Delhi at the behest of the BJP.
"Preparations for Chhath Puja ghat were underway in Dwarka. The mayor of the BJP-ruled municipal corporation visited the spot and said Puja will not be allowed," he said, adding that the AAP MLA of the area has been sitting on a dharna at the site in protest against denial of permission by the mayor.
Lashing out at the BJP, AAP leader Somnath Bharti claimed that the saffron party is "insulting" 'Purvanchalis' by putting hurdles in their preparations for Chhath Puja.
The AAP government in Delhi has declared a public holiday on November 10 on account of Chhath Puja.
"Chhath Puja is an important festival for the people of NCT of Delhi. Accordingly, the Government of Delhi has decided to declare November 10, 2021, as a public holiday on account of Chhath Puja," said a statement issued on Friday by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
What BJP says
The BJP has accused the AAP of trying to create tension over the Chhath Puja issue.
In a statement, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor appealed to the people to not pay heed to the “provocative statements” of the AAP leaders.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the municipal corporations are developing 'ghats' for Chhath Puja at “all traditionally identified locations”, the BJP leader clarified.
(With PTI inputs)