NEW DELHI: The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has decided to allow public celebrations of Chhath Puja in the national capital, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia tweeted on Wednesday. Following the decision, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), each claimed the credit for the same. The matter of allowing outdoor celebrations of the festival had become a political flashpoint between the two parties.
People observing the festival can now gather at the ghats (banks) of Yamuna River or at water bodies in the city to pay their respects to the sun god while following all COVID-19 protocols. The venues are designated by the city government every year. Last year, public gatherings for Chhath were barred due to the pandemic.
The DDMA has permitted the festivities, revising its previous order of September 30, which had barred public celebrations of Chhath for the second year in a row, owing to the pandemic. This year, the festival is on November 10.
A statement issued by Sisodia’s office said that it is because of the “persistent” efforts of CM Arvind Kejriwal that public celebration of Chhath has been allowed in Delhi. “A meeting of the DDMA was held on Wednesday. In the last several weeks, the Covid positivity rate in the city reduced to less than 0.1%. In view of this, public celebrations of Chhath Puja can now be organised following Covid protocol at selected ghats,” it said.
BJP’ Delhi unit chief Adesh Gupta too released a statement that protests by the party for allowing chhath festivities has finally borne fruit. “The DDMA gave its decision in the favour of Purvanchalis,” said Gupta. Senior BJP leader Manoj Tiwari also congratulated fellow Purvanchalis on the decision.