Gudi Padwa, the Maharashtrian and Konkani new year, has become an issue of political slugfest in the western state as both BJP and Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena have staked claim to the celebration of the festival on Wednesday.
Uddhav’s cousin, Raj Thackeray, has joined the Gudi Padwa politics too as posters calling Maharashtra Navnirman Sena founder the future chief minister of Maharashtra sprung up in Mumbai’s Dadar area — considered to be the stronghold of MNS.
Raj Thackeray is scheduled to address a mega rally at the historic Shivaji Park in Mumbai in the evening. Over the last couple of days, the MNS has released a series of teasers ahead of his rally. One of the teasers said, “To know about the ‘Thackeray’ idea, come to Shivteerth”.
In view of Raj’s ‘Padwa Melawa’, the Mumbai traffic police issued an advisory as MNS workers from all over Maharashtra are likely to arrive at the venue, leading to large number of vehicle on Western and Eastern Express Highway. Traffic congestion is expected especially on the road leading to Shivaji Park.
The notification said that there shall be no parking on the following road:
1. S V S Road (from Siddhivinayak Mandir Junction upto Yes Bank Junction).
2. Keluskar Road(South) and (North), Dadar.
3. M B Raut Marg.
4. Pandurang Naik Marg (Road no. 5).
5. Dadasaheb Rege Marg.
6. Lt Dilip Gupte Marg (from Shivaji Park Gate No.4 upto Shitala Devi Temple Junction).
7. N C Kelkar Marg (from Gadkari Junction upto Hanuman Temple Junction), Dadar.
BJP vs Shiv Sena (UBT) on Gudi Padwa
The BJP leaders will carry out ‘Shobha Yatra’ in various parts of Mumbai on the occasion, for which the party has roped in their grassroots workers to hoist one lakh Gudis at their houses on Wednesday.
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde took part in Shobha Yatra during Shree Ambe Mata Chaitra Navratri Festival in Thane district. pic.twitter.com/7PrgyAQEaQ— ANI (@ANI) March 22, 2023
“Gudi Padwa, one of the three-and-a-half auspicious Muhurtas as per Hindu calendar, will be celebrated with great pomp and fervour. On behalf of Mumbai BJP, workers will welcome this Hindu New Year by hoisting nearly one lakh Gudis at their houses,” Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar said.
“Processions showcasing the Marathi culture have also been organised. These processions will be held in Lalbaug, Parel, Worli, Vile Parle, Borivali, and Dahisar areas. Eleven karyakartas each from 9,800 booths will hoist Gudi on their houses,” he said.
Calling ‘Gudi’ a symbol of victory, Shelar appealed to every Hindu household to celebrate Gudi Padwa with great enthusiasm and hoist a Gudi on their house as a symbol of Hindutva.
Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena has also organised yatras in Mumbai on the occasion, most prominent among them will be in Girgaon, showcasing Marathi culture.
The BJP leader said, “Uddhav Thackeray’s party and parties from the Aghadi are trying hard to woo the voters of a particular community (minorities) and the Gudi of Hindutva will truly be a befitting reply to them in Mumbai."
When asked if both the parties were trying to stake claim to bring the flag bearers of Hindutva, Shelar told News18, “I can say that they can try but for us, it is in our soul. They have already gone with Congress and NCP. They are celebrating azaan competitions. We are not against any religion, but what they are trying to do now is an effort. Whereas for us, Hindutva is a part of our soul."
MP Rahul Shewale from Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena handed over a written letter to Lok Sabha speak Om Birla to declare Gudi Padwa a public/parliamentary holiday.
The show of strength and the claim to Hindu festivals also comes in the backdrop of BMC elections, which are still pending. But when asked about it, Shelar disagreed.
“I don’t think this is a part of elections. We have done Ganpatis in big way, we have done Govindas in big way, we have done Dandiya in a big way, we have done Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj play in a big way. We are doing what Mumbai wants and what the city expects from its leaders — to be close to Marathi and Hindutva culture," he told News18.
Meanwhile, women in Nagpur were seen playing ‘lezim’.
#WATCH | Maharashtra: Gudi Padwa is being celebrated. Visuals of vibrant celebrations from Nagpur pic.twitter.com/Zn2UnHapKF— ANI (@ANI) March 22, 2023
Celebrations in Other States
Prime Minister Narendra wished Indians on the occasion of Ugadi.
Wishing everyone a Happy Ugadi! pic.twitter.com/UecYaSvzAz— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 22, 2023
Ugadi too falls on the first day of Chaitra Navratri. While Maharashtra and Goa mark Gudi Padwa, residents of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka celebrate it as Ugadi.
In Delhi, early morning ‘aarti’ was performed at the famous Jhandewalan Temple as devotees thronged to offer prayers and seek blessings from Goddess Durga on the first day of Chaitra Navratri.
#WATCH | Early morning aarti being performed on the first day of Chaitra Navratri at a temple in Chhatarpur, Delhi. pic.twitter.com/WQw4YnZcbm— ANI (@ANI) March 22, 2023
In Assam, devotees offered prayers at Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati.
In Mumbai, devotees thronged Mumbadevi temple for the morning ‘aarti’.
#WATCH | Mumbai: Devotees throng to Mumbadevi temple in Mumbai for the morning aarti on the first day of Chaitra Navratri. pic.twitter.com/4VwipQnP4X— ANI (@ANI) March 22, 2023
In Jammu and Kashmir, Union home minister Amit Shah inaugurated the Sharda Devi temple, located on LoC in the frontier district of Kupwara, through video conference. He was joined by J&K LG Manoj Sinha.
“I will visit Maa Sharda first whenever I come to Kashmir next. I congratulate the whole team for their struggle for this temple. Shardha Peeth was a source of knowledge. People used to come here from all over the country," Shah said.
The temple has been built by Kashmir’s Seva Sharda Samiti and the Shri Sringeri Math. The aim to build this temple is to revive the Shardha pilgrimage, which stopped after 1948 as the original temple fell under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in Sharda village along the Neelum River. Kashmiri pandits have been demanding a Kartarpur-like corridor for them.
The land was taken with the support of locals as it used to have dharmshala and a Sikh gurdwara, which was burnt down by tribal raiders in 1947 and later in 1948 the pilgrimage to Shardha Peeth was stopped.
Chaitra Navratri or Vasant Navratri is celebrated during the spring season in India and it is considered to be an important nine-day celebration for the Hindu community.
This year, the nine-day festivities begin on March 22 and will go on till March 30. Each day is dedicated to a different form of Goddess Durga, worshipping the power and qualities that each avatar represents.
(With inputs from Vinaya Deshpande in Mumbai, Ieshan Wani in Kashmir)
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