The struggle for permission to hold Chhath Puja at public places will be intensified by taking out a ''Rath Yatra'' from October 9 in Purvanchali-dominated pockets of the national capital, Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said today.
The ''Rath Yatra'' will be taken out to interact with Purvanchalis and gather their opinion on holding Chhat Puja at public places, the BJP MP said.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in its order last week had prohibited Chhath Puja celebrations at public places, including riverbank and temples, in view of COVID-19 situation.
Chhath Puja celebrations were prohibited at public places in Delhi last year as well.
"The Rath Yatra will be taken out from Saturday to interact with Purvanchalis (people of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh settled in Delhi), and gather their opinion on holding Chhath Puja at public places," Mr Tiwari said.
Earlier this month, the Northeast Delhi BJP MP, who is also a well-known Bhojpuri actor and singer, had called a meeting of Chhath Puja committees at his residence to discuss the ban on Chhath Puja at public places.
"There is no chance of Covid spread when people celebrate Chhath in public places because devotees get into only knee-deep water while offering prayers.
"When people can enjoy swimming in the pools without any threat of Covid, how can Chhath spread it when devotees enter water for a few hours," he said.
After the ''Rath Yatra'' is concluded, Mr Tiwari will lead a delegation that will meet Lt Governor and DDMA chairman Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to convince them to give permission for Chhat Puja celebrations at public places, said BJP leader Neelkant Bakshi.
Mr Tiwari claimed that the Chhath Puja committees are ready to strictly follow all the Covid-appropriate behaviour and norms.
The Delhi government can make body temperature check for entry at Chhath Puja sites and video recording the celebrations mandatory, he said.
Mr Tiwari had earlier termed the ban as an "insult" of Purvanchalis and asserted that it will be defied if people are stopped from celebrating the festival.
Chhath Puja is hugely popular among Purvanchalis. The festival celebrated after Diwali is a four-day-long ritual during the last two days of which women offer obeisance through offerings to the Sun god in ankle deep water of rivers and ponds.
Purvanchalis comprise a big chunk of voters in Delhi and issues relating to them has been a favourite rallying point for the political parties.
The AAP, the BJP and the Congress in Delhi pay special attention to Purvanchalis on Chhath with their senior leaders visiting ghats and ensuring facilities for them.
In the pre-pandemic times, both the AAP government and municipal corporations ruled by the BJP used to spend significant amounts on preparing Chhath ghats and ensuring other facilities for the devotees.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)