Updated: November 7, 2021 9:48:31 am
The Delhi government has declared Chhath Puja, which falls on November 10, as a public holiday.
An order from the office of the Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia, read, “Chhat Puja is important for the people of NCT of Delhi. Accordingly, government of NCT of Delhi, has decided to declare 10th November, 2021, as a public holiday on account of Chhat Puja. Necessary notification in this regard may be issued.”
On October 29, the DDMA had allowed Chhath Puja celebrations at designated sites, except at the banks of the Yamuna river. Earlier, DDMA had denied permission to celebrate the festival in public, citing restrictions in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
After protests from the BJP and Congress, the government had written to the Centre seeking permission for public celebrations. When that did not yield any results, a DDMA meeting was held to allow the festivities.
Chhath Puja is closely tied to the politics in the capital, being celebrated by Purvanchalis, who constitute over 30 per cent of the city’s population. People from eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar are believed to be in majority in 16 of the 70 Assembly seats, as per a survey by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.
Before the pandemic, both the AAP-led Delhi government and BJP’s MCD leaders would spend large amounts of money to organise programmes on the occasion of Chhath.
Perceived as a Congress vote bank earlier, Purvanchali voters shifted to AAP in large numbers during the 2015 Assembly elections when 13 leaders with a Purvanchal background won. The BJP in 2016 appointed Tiwari, who comes from Bihar, as state president of the Delhi unit which was till then dominated by Punjabi and Bania leaders. Under his leadership, BJP has won the municipal corporation polls but lost the state elections. Elections to three MCDs, all ruled by the BJP, are due early next year.
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