Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 | Last Update : 05:01 AM IST
BJP East Delhi MP Maheish Girri is the main convenor of the yagya.
New Delhi: A grand event is being organised in the nation’s capital for the first time to celebrate the birth anniversary of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on February 19. While the event is being organised by the great Maratha warrior’s 13th descendant, BJP MP Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati, it is seen as part of an effort by the BJP to step up aggressive Hindutva ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha polls next year. Besides sending a signal to its core votebank, the event is also seen as an effort by the saffron party to woo the powerful Marathas, who are now demanding reservations in Maharashtra, currently under BJP-Shiv Sena rule.
Interestingly, a five-day event on Shivaji Maharaj is also being organised in April at the Red Fort lawns, titled “Hindu Samrayaja ki gauravgatha” (Saga extolling the life and times of Shivaji) by the Raja Shivchhatrapati Maha-natya Aayojan Samiti. Also, the grand coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was depicted in this year’s Maharashtra state tableau in the Republic Day parade. The “Rashtriya Raksha Mahayagya”, which will be organised next month, is seen as part of polarisation efforts by the ruling party. Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday kicked off the rathyatra from the India Gate lawns that will collect soil and water from the border areas and the “Char Dhams” for this eight-day “vedic yagya” at the Red Fort lawns. BJP East Delhi MP Maheish Girri is the main convenor of the yagya.
The home minister called it an “extraordinary rathyatra” and said the event was not to win power but for “nation-building” and a fully-secure and prosperous India.
In Maharashtra, where BJP ally Shiv Sena had said it would go it alone in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, even the NCP, headed by prominent Maratha leader and former Union minister Sharad Pawar, is seen as a big challenge to the BJP.
The Monday event in Delhi will see a grand procession, including performances of Mardani khel (Maharashtrian martial art) and dhol tashas playing Shivgarjana, that will start Maharashtra Sadan and end at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) lawns via Rajpath. Before that, Mr Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati and others will garland the Shivaji Maharaj statue in Parliament. At Maharashtra Sadan, traditional Marathi palna songs (lullabies) will be sung. Nearly 6,000 people from nearby states are expected to visit the event, which will see performances by more than 1,500 people. Later, a cultural prgoramme will be held in the evening at the IGNCA, that will also have an exhibition of photographs of forts historian Pramod Mande. The event will focus on Shivaji Maharaj’s key message of Swarajya (self-rule).