Chief Minister MK Stalin has announced that potters in Tamil Nadu making Ganesha idols for the Vinayaka Chaturthi festival will get Rs 5,000 in a bid to help them deal with the financial crunch in the wake of the pandemic.
The dole is over and above a similar amount announced last year for all potters facing a lean business season since the onset of the pandemic last year. “There are over 12,000 people in the state engaged in various forms of pottery. Of them, 3,000 are involved in making these idols ahead of festival time… considering their hardships, this government has decided to give them Rs 5,000 more this year…”
Stalin made the announcement about the grant in the state assembly on Tuesday amid a raging debate about the DMK government’s decision to ban public processions associated with the festival. Stalin had refused to allow the usual fanfare-filled processions of larger-than-life Ganesha idols that make their way through the arterial city roads to be dissolved in the beaches along Chennai.
Pointing out the outbreak of fresh cases in the wake of Bakrid and Onam festivities in Kerala, Stalin had announced beforehand that the processions cannot take place. He also banned celebrations outside churches on Mother Mary’s birthday (September 8). The state unit of the BJP had cried foul over Stalin’s announcements, alleging that the DMK government was targeting Hindu sentiments through these curbs. State party President K Annamalai had urged his cadre to install Ganesha idols outside their homes, setting a target of one lakh installations by the festival.
The DMK government has been focussing on pandemic mitigation measures even as it continued to fend off political salvoes from the BJP and the AIADMK. Faced with internal challenges and legal battles of serious nature, the AIADMK has receded to the shadows in the political arena, leaving the BJP to keep up the political battle against the DMK.