MUMBAI: Organisers of the city’s biggest festival, Ganeshotsav, have demanded that the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly elections be postponed as they fear that they will lose their main sponsors, political parties, because of the Model Code of Conduct.
Ganeshotsav will be celebrated from August 29 to September 8. The Model Code of Conduct for the Assembly elections is likely to come into effect by August end. The festival organisers believe that the political parties will hesitate to provide sponsorship in view of the stringent rules of the election expenditure.
Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti (BSGS), the umbrella organisation of the festival organisers, has expressed concern over the funding to the festival.
The BSGS gets maximum revenue from the banners and hoardings put up by the political parties at the venue of a Ganesh pandal.
“We fear that the political parties will back out from the sponsorship to avoid violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
“If that happens it will be a big blow to the festival. We will write to the Election Commission to postpone the election,” said BSGS president Narendra Dahibavkar. He maintained that the revenue generated through sponsorships is utilised for social work too, such as eye check-up camps for elders and scholarships to poor students.
The Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti has around 10,500 member organisations. Each one of them gets average revenue of `1 crore from either political parties or individual politicians.
A Shiv Sena leader from Parel echoed Dahibavkar’ views but rejected the idea of postponing the election.
“I too sponsor an organisation in my area. I will certainly shift the sponsorship amount to election campaign. But I am not in favour of deferring the elections We have the best chance to win the election because of anti-incumbency and the Narendra Modi factor. It will be better if the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti keeps the festival a low-key affair this year,” he said.