Mumbai, (The Hindu): With the Ganesh festival just over a month away, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has stepped forward to support Ganesh mandals that are facing problems in getting permission to set up pandals from the Brihanmumai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the police.
A delegation of mandal representatives from Khetwadi in south Mumbai met Mr. Thackeray on Tuesday, requesting him to look into their problems. According to their memorandum of demands, the strict conditions set by the court have made setting up pandals virtually impossible.
Hitesh Jadhav of Akhil Khetwadi Madhyastha Ganeshotsav Mandal, “We have 31 mandals in Khetwadi. For the last 12 days, our application to set up pandals has been moving back and forth between the BMC, the police and the traffic police. None of these agencies are ready to grant us clearance, hence we decided to seek Mr. Thackeray’s help.”
Mr. Thackeray will visit Khetwadi on Wednesday, and assured the delegation to take care of things. “You begin your work [of constructing pandals] tomorrow. I will be there with you [on Wednesday],” the MNS chief told them.
The delegation said it would be better if the government concentrated on issues such as potholes, roads dug up by builders, and dilapidated buildings and bridges instead on targeting the 10-day festival.
The MNS’s intervention in public festival celebrations is not new. Earlier, the party had aggressively supported dahi handi celebrations, which are also subject to height and age restrictions from the courts.
Last year, the ruling Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had extended a helping hand to Ganesh mandals who were facing similar troubles.
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