PATNA: CM Nitish Kumar and his ministers were among the political class who celebrated Durga Puja by visiting temples and pandals on Maha Ashtami on Sunday.
Nitish visited Sheetala Mata Mandir (Agamkuan), Badi and Chhoti Patandevi temples in Patna City, as well as Shri Shri Badi Devi and Shri Shri Dalhatta Devi in the Maroofganj locality of the state capital. He was accompanied by senior minister Nand Kishore Yadav, MLCs Ranvir Nandan and Lalan Sarraf, Patna mayor Sita Sahu and senior officials. Nitish also offered puja at Gardanibagh Thakurbari and Kali temple at Baans Ghat.
Many politicians have adhered to the puja tradition of installing ‘kalash’ during the nine-day Navaratra at their homes. Politicians like state assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary, former CM Rabri Devi and RJD MLA Bhola Yadav don’t discuss political issues during Navaratra.
The sons of ministers Nand Kishore Yadav and Prem Kumar sit on the puja with their priests conducting the rituals. There are others like state Congress president Madan Mohan Jha, whose wives do puja during Navaratra and consume fruits and milk only, while state BJP spokesman Prem Ranjan Patel survives only on honey-mixed water.
For BJP senior and health minister Mangal Pandey, “doing public service is my God”, as he is beset with the task of preventing the occurrence of epidemic or arranging treatment to dengue cases from waterlogged Patna.
However, this year’s puja festivities have been marred by two rounds of floods in July and September-October. The floods disrupted normal life in 1,810 panchayats, affecting 1.09 crore people.
Patna itself was hit by unprecedented waterlogging caused by continuous rain for over two days. As of now, acute flood problem has persisted in 13 districts — Buxar, Bhojpur, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Khagaria, Bhagalpur, Munger, Katihar, Patna, Nawada, Jehanabad and Nalanda.
Given the situation, the CM conducted an aerial survey of the flood affected areas in Begusarai, Khagaria, Bhagalpur, Katihar and Purnia districts on Sunday. At the Chunapur military airport on the outskirts of Purnia, he reviewed the situation with the DMs of Purnia and Katihar districts and also asked his principal secretary Chanchal Kumar to camp at Bhagalpur from Monday to monitor the rescue and relief operations in the district, hit by the floodwaters of Ganga and Kosi rivers.