A day after BJP MP Parvesh Verma started preparations for Chhath Puja at Yamuna Ghat, the AAP gave a guarded response to the move on Tuesday, saying he can celebrate the festival on the banks of the Yamuna if L-G Anil Baijal and the Delhi Police allow him to do so.
Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai accused the BJP of playing politics on the festival and said the Delhi L-G has banned Chhath Puja celebrations on the Yamuna banks, not Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Verma, the BJP’s MP from east Delhi, on Monday performed rituals and started preparations for Chhath Puja at the Yamuna Ghat near the ITO here despite a ban by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on the celebration of this festival on the banks of river Yamuna.
“L-G sahab has prohibited (Chhath Puja). Both the L-G and (Delhi) police belong to them (BJP). If L-G sahab is giving them permission and the police are standing by them, they can perform puja. What is the problem? Arvind Kejriwal ji has not put a ban (on Chhath puja at Yamuna Banks),â Rai told reporters when asked for his comment on the BJP MP’s move to organise Chhath puja at Yamuna banks.
Verma on Sunday had alleged that Kejriwal ”prohibited” celebration of Chhath at Yamuna ghats, calling it “unacceptable”.
“I will be accompanied by the Purvanchali brothers and sisters and we will clean the Chhath ghat at ITO and start the puja. I challenge Arvind Kejriwal to stop us if he can,” he had said.
Replying to a question on the BJP MP’s challenge to Kejriwal, Rai said the BJP’s job is to play “politics” while the job of the AAP government is to celebrate Chhath Puja and make all necessary arrangements for it in Delhi.
“We are doing our job. They (BJP) are doing their job. People in Delhi have to celebrate Chhath Puja and the Delhi government is making all arrangements for it,” he said.
Rai, who is also an AAP convener in Delhi, was speaking to reporters at Bhalswa ghat when he was there to inspect the arrangements made for Chhath Puja.
“While the Delhi government has made arrangements for the celebration of Chhath Puja at 800 locations, preparations are underway at the rest of the locations,” he told reporters.
He also appealed to all Purvachalis in Delhi to celebrate the Chhath Puja following Covid safety guidelines.
‘Purvanchalis’ in Delhi are natives of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who are settled in the national capital.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in its order on October 29 had allowed Chhath celebrations at “designated sites”, barring the banks of the Yamuna.
It has directed administrative and police officials to ensure strict compliance of all its Covid-related orders. While the L-G is the chairman of the DDMA, Delhi chief minister is its vice-chairman.
The four-day Chhath Puja, which began on Monday, will conclude on November 11 with the devotees offering ‘Arghya’ to the rising sun and breaking their fast.Â