Mumbai, June 18 (IANS) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, here on Thursday, urged Ganeshotsav organisers to observe the upcoming 10-day festival with precautions and without fanfare in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thackeray urged the organising groups in Mumbai, Pune, Konkan and other places to ensure simple celebrations with people-oriented themes to portray a different perspective on the state’s biggest public festival before the world this time.
He said amid the pandemic threat it would not be possible to allow large crowds thronging the Ganeshotsav marquees and advised low-key celebrations with minimum turnout.
The video conference was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Ministers of State for Home Satej Patil and Shamburaj Desai, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar.
Top officials, led by Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta, Director-General of Police Subodh Jaiswal, Mumbai Municipal Commissioner I.S. Chahal, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board representative E. Ravindran and others, also gave their inputs.
BrihanMumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti chief Naresh Dahibhavkar, representatives of Ganesh Mandals from all over the state and artisans presented their views on the upcoming festival and agreed to abide by the government directives.
Thackeray ruled out massive crowds of devotees or taking out mega processions for the immersion ceremonies as has been the tradition. The Ganeshotsav, started on a modest scale by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1893, is entering the 127th year.
The state will welcome Lord Ganesha, also known as ‘Vignaharta’ (remover of obstacles), for 10 days from August 22 and bid goodbye with the final immersion ceremonies on September 1.
It is celebrated by commoners and celebs alike, cutting across religious lines, annually, with the biggest celebrations in Mumbai and Pune, the tiny villages in the coastal Konkan region, besides most other cities across the state.
Some of the prominent personalities who host Lord Ganesha include Lata Mangeshkar, Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Nana Patekar, the Kapoor clan, Shilpa Shetty, Vivek Oberoi, the Anil Kapoor clan, Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna, Sanjay Dutt, Bappi Lahiri, Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia, and Shreyas Talpade.
All top politicians, including Chief Minister Thackeray, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, ex-Chief Ministers, like Sharad Pawar, Narayan Rane, Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan, central and state ministers and elected representatives celebrate and throw their homes open for all during Ganeshotsav.