Sanjay Nirupam, Congress MP from North Mumbai, who till last year had been at loggerheads with Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, son Aditya and MNS chief Raj Thackeray over full-fledged celebrations of Chhat Puja, has decided to tone down the festivities this time around as a mark of respect for Sena
chief Bal Thackeray, who died on Saturday.
Chhat Puja begins on Monday evening and will conclude the next morning. “The puja will be conducted on the Juhu Beach, but the planned cultural programmes will be cancelled. We had decided to organise a performance by singer Sonu Nigam, which has been called off in the wake of the grim mood following the sad demise of Balasaheb Thackeray,” Nirupam told DNA.
Last year, the puja was endorsed by actors Manoj Bajpai and Manoj Tiwari. Nirupam, who attended Thackeray’s funeral at Shivaji Park on Sunday, assured that there would be no scrimping on the arrangements for the puja on the beach as well as devotees’ comfort. Asked if there has been any discussion with the Shiv Sena over reports of a bandh, he said, “I am sure that is not required and they (Sainiks) will respect the religious sentiments of the masses.”
He added that in line with previous years’ arrangements, there will be a posse of policemen deployed during the puja.
Last year, several posters of Nirupam, promoting Chhatt Puja celebrations, were found torn in Kandivli, Charkop, Malad, Borivli and Dahisar. The Congress MP had left the Shiv Sena and the MNS seething with his remark that North Indians can bring Mumbai to a standstill and for daring Uddhav, Aditya and Raj to step out without security.