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Delhi scurries for blessings

- BJP & Cong keen to woo Chhath devotees ahead of poll

New Delhi, Nov. 16: Leaders cutting across party lines in the national capital are leaving no stone unturned to garner the blessings of the Sun God this Chhath.

Delhi Assembly election is just a year away, and devotees who would visit the banks of the Yamuna for offering arghya on Monday and Tuesday could come face-to-face with their public representatives. The politicians are out trying to woo the Purvanchali voters, majority of whom are from Bihar.

The BJP, which controls the three municipal corporations in Delhi, yesterday renewed its demand to the Sheila Dikshit-led government for declaring Pehli Arghya — when devotees offer arghya to the setting Sun — a public holiday. Their demand, sources said, is a bid to woo around 35-40 lakh Purvanchali voters.

Chhath starts on Saturday and Pehli Arghya falls on November 19, Monday. “The government should declare a public holiday on November 19 on the occasion of Chhath, respecting the sentiments of the 40 lakh Purvanchali people living here,” said Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta.

Sources said several Congress and BJP leaders are expected to show up at the Yamuna for Chhath to join the huge migrant population, which could be the deciding factor in next year’s elections.

The state BJP has also claimed to clean the ghats for the Chhath rituals. He insisted that all three municipal corporations have been instructed to ensure proper cleanliness at the riverbanks.

On the other hand, Congress leaders said Dikshit has met a number of prominent Purvanchali leaders and promised them to come up with a long-term plan for improving facilities for Chhath celebrations in Delhi.

A source close to the chief minister said: “The Delhi government has issued instructions to agencies concerned to provide adequate facilities at the important ghats along the Yamuna. Around Rs 50 lakh has been spent over the arrangements.”


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