Vijayawada: While the opposition Telugu Desam and BJP have decided, separately, to set up pandals and install Ganesh idols at public places in violation of curbs in view of the Covid situation, the YSRC government in Andhra Pradesh is finding itself in a tricky situation.
Ruling party leaders have alleged that the opposition parties are trying to inflame Hindu religious sentiments by making an issue out of the curbs the state government has put in place for the festival season.
YSRC leaders keep saying that the curbs were imposed against public processions and setting up of pandals in public places on Vinayaka Chavithi based on the guidelines issued by the BJP-led central government. The Centre had stressed on enforcing Covid-appropriate behaviour during the annual celebrations.
After the announcement that there will be no permission for the setting up of Ganesh pandals at public places, a majority of the Vinayaka festival committees cancelled such plans without raising objections. However, the TD, the BJP and the Jana Sena decided to turn this into an issue and defy the curbs.
A majority of the people of all regions have got accustomed to simple celebrations of the festivals for the past year and a half due to the first and second waves of Covid-19. Though the spread has subsided, the fear of the eruption of a third wave of the pandemic persists.
Senior political analysts noted that the BJP is trying to strengthen the party from the grassroots level. Hence, it got involved in the protests relating to the series of attacks on temples sometime back. Strengthening of the BJP would mean erosion from the bases of the Telugu Desam. To avoid this, the TD quickly hijacked the temple attacks issue and organised protests, which were successful due the strength of its hardcore cadres. The BJP lacks such a force at the ground level.
This time, when the BJP called its leaders and cadres to erect Vinayaka Chavithi pandals and install idols as usual, the TD also called for mass Ganesh celebrations and erection of pandals. The TD is turning its colour and projecting itself as the Hindutva saviour to attract masses to its side and outwit the BJP.
AP BJP president Somu Veerraju and other leaders said they will perform Ganesh festival in pandals by installing the idols. They objected to the restrictions on Vinayaka Chavithi, alleging the CM Jagan was “biased” and hence he did not give the permission for mass worship citing the Covid situation.
The BJP team has submitted a memorandum to Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan, seeking permission to conduct the Ganesh festival at pandals in public places.
Meanwhile, MLAs and leaders of the TD belonging to 175 Assembly constituencies across 13 districts wrote letters to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, objecting to the curb and seeking permissions to conduct the Ganesh festival in the usual manner.
The Communists objected to the demand of the BJP, the TD and the Jana Sena that mass Ganesh celebrations be allowed. CPI state secretary Ramakrishna, CPM state secretary Madhu and some other red leaders alleged that the BJP is trying to disturb communal harmony and inviting health problems to the people. They appealed to the people “not to fall in the trap of the BJP.”
Minister for endowments Vellampalli Srinivas Rao and some other YSRC leaders claimed that the state was only following the guidelines issued by the BJP-led Union government in relation to the Coronavirus crisis. They said the BJP is trying to unleash communal violence in AP with a view to fishing in troubled waters. They challenged the BJP to get fresh advisory issued from the Union Government vis-a-vis the Ganesh festival and promised that the state government is ready to follow whatever guidelines the Centre issued.
- Telugu Desam and BJP are competing with each other to install Ganesh idols at any cost in the pandals at public places.
- TD, BJP and Jana Sena turning the curbs on Vinayaka Chavithi into a sentimental issue.
- BJP team submits memorandum to Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan seeking permission to hold the Ganesh festival in pandals.
- MLAs and leaders of TD belong to 175 Assembly constituencies write letters to CM, objecting to the restrictions and seeking permission to hold the Ganesh festival.
- Communists objecting to the demand of BJP, TD and Jana Sena for mass Ganesha festival celebrations, appeal to the public to celebrate Vinayaka Chavithi in their homes and safeguard people’s health.