Political row over Chhath Puja continues

The political row over the observance of Chhath Puja in the Capital continued on Wednesday with both the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP blaming each other for the ban amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A day after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia wrote to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to consult a group of experts regarding the observance of the festival, north-east Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari followed suit.

“Your government wrote a letter to the Union Minister under pressure from Chhath Puja organisers yesterday. If you were actually serious about the issue, you would have requested guidelines in the month of September,” Mr. Tiwari stated in a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

“I state with regret that you continuously engage in anti-Hindu behaviour which has resulted in Hindu-Muslim polarisation in the city. I request you to ensure that preparations for the public observance of Chhath Puja are taken up by the Delhi government without further delay,” he said.

AAP Delhi convener and Delhi Cabinet Minister Gopal Rai said that COVID guidelines are mandatory. The State government can only give exemptions on the guidelines of the Central government.

Mr. Rai alleged that the BJP was doing politics over the sacred Chhath Puja and doesn’t respect Poorvanchalis. He added that last year, Central government guidelines has stated that Chhath Puja should not be done in view of COVID-19.

According to Mr. Rai, the decision to celebrate Chhath Puja will be decided on the guidelines of the Central government and the opinion of experts.

“We want the puja to be done according to the guidelines. We are expecting a different opinion now from the Central government on their previous advisory regarding the spread of infection through water,” he said.

“Manoj Tiwari is an MP from BJP. Why doesn’t he talk to his Union Ministers? BJP is going to be kicked out from civic bodies and no one can save it. The AAP did whatever it could do to work for the upliftment of the people of Poorvanchal,” he said.

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