Thane: After the kerfuffle during Dahi handi and Navratri celebrations in Thane, Diwali brought the two factions of Shiv Sena face to face once again on the occasion of Diwali Pahat on Monday morning. The fight over venue concluded with the Shinde faction getting the coveted space opposite Rajawant Jewellers; the Shiv Sena (UBT) held the cultural event a few meters away at Ram Ganesh Gadkari Theatre Chowk.
In their quest to attract the youth, in a break from tradition (where morning ragas are sung), the two factions encouraged music played by DJs and film songs – music blared at every junction along the Ram Maruti Road, Masunda Lake and Chintamani Chowk areas.
After a pandemic-induced break of two years, crowds were back on the streets on Monday morning to participate in the celebrations, in choicest fineries. Like Dahi handi, the crowd at Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Rajan Vichare’s musical managed to draw a much larger crowd than the Shinde faction’s event. Vichare has been conducting the musical for almost a decade, which is visited by people from Thane and nearby cities.
Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray skipped Vichare’s cultural event, inviting remarks from the Shinde faction. As Naresh Maske, spokesperson for the faction said, “The leftover Sena workers too had organised Diwali Pahat today – we saw on the banners that the MLA of this leftover Sena, Aaditya Thackeray, will visit the city. However, no one saw him on Monday. The Shinde Sena’s Diwali Pahat may have scared him off.”
Meanwhile, the political slugfest which put a halt on the quaint charm of Diwali Pahat, replacing it with cacophonous DJs playing music, inviting youngsters to dance, did not go down well with citizens of Thane. They felt it was a sad outcome of the two Sena factions in a race to outperform one another.
City-based activist Dr Mahesh Bedekar, said, “I visited the Ram Maruti Road after two years to see the Diwali celebrations, but was taken aback by a huge crowd of youngsters dancing to DJ music. This was a break from tradition in Thane city. The noise levels were as high as 110 decibels, while the entire road was blocked. Diwali is for people to meet and greet and the tradition of Diwali Pahat is never to dance to loud DJ music.” He added that youngsters were mere pawns in the hands of the politicians seeking publicity.
Contest akin to Indo-Pak match: CM
“On the eve of Diwali, we celebrated India’s victory over Pakistan. Like Team India, we too played a tough match three months ago and came out victorious,” said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in Thane on Monday, referring to the vertical split in Shiv Sena and him wresting control of the chief minister-ship from Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. He was speaking at the Diwali Pahat, held by the Shiv Sena (Balasaheb Thackeray) in Thane.
“The moment we came to power, we permitted the celebrations of all our festivals and traditions. These traditions are as important as development,” Shinde said, adding that the state is headed towards a new revolution. “Whenever we visit a city or village in the state we are welcomed by people with open arms.”