Updated: October 26, 2021 9:50:51 am
Though the drive would target people holding Chhath fast, Tiwari said, others can also get vaccinated through this initiative. It will start from Kadipur in northeast Delhi and cover other areas in days to come.
Chhath puja, the two-day festival dedicated to the solar deity Surya, will be celebrated in Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern UP on November 10 and 11.
BJP leader Neelkant Bakshi said that in the first phase of the vaccination drive, around 10,000 people would be inoculated and later the numbers would be increased.
“Some people who are not very technology-friendly have not been vaccinated. So this drive will reach out to them and one can get vaccinated even without an Aadhaar card,” he said.
The drive is being organised in cooperation with Delhiites Foundation and vaccination camps would be held in wards by councillors, he said.
The development comes weeks after an intense showdown between BJP and the Delhi government over the conduct of Chhath Puja in public places in Delhi due to Covid-19 regulations.
In September, The Delhi Disaster Management Authority had issued guidelines saying that no Chhath celebrations will be allowed at public places and riverbanks in the national capital, and fairs and food stalls will not be permitted during festivals.
The BJP held a protest outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s house accusing him of being anti-Purvanchal by banning the festival while AAP hit back saying that it was the Centre that issues guidelines.
Later, Arvind Kejriwal wrote a letter to L-G Anil Baijal to allow Chhath Puja in Delhi.
Chhath Puja is tied to politics in the capital; the festival is celebrated by Purvanchalis, who constitute over 30 per cent of the city’s population. People from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are believed to be in the majority in 16 of 70 assembly seats in the capital, as per a survey by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, both the AAP-led Delhi government and BJP’s MCD leaders would spend large sums on Chhath ghat preparations.
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 – till then dominated by Punjabi and Bania leaders – to attract these voters. In his leadership, BJP won municipal corporation polls but lost state elections. The elections for the three MCDs, all ruled by BJP, are due early next year.
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