Mumbai, Dec 5 (IANS): In a strategic move ahead of the 2024 election year, the Maharashtra government has declared December 6 -- the death anniversary of the Chief Architect of Indian Constitution, Bharat Ratna Dr. B. R. Ambedkar -- as a Mumbai local holiday, as per an official announcement made on Tuesday.
The holiday will be applicable for all government and semi-government offices in Mumbai and Mumbai Suburban District jurisdiction, though banks would continue to function as usual.
This is the third Mumbai-specific public holiday declared by the government, the first being Anant Chaturdashi (since 1996) during the Ganeshotsav and the second is Dahi-Handi festival (since 2007), and this year, the ‘Mahaparinirvana Divas’ marking the 67th death anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar.
To a query, official sources said that the December 6 local Mumbai holiday is likely to be an annual feature henceforth, though the district Collectorates would issue a fresh notification every year.
Mumbai Congress President Prof. Varsha Gaikwad, who had first raised the demand to declare it as a public holiday recently, welcomed the move by the state government.
“I had written to the Chief Minister demanding that all offices should remain closed that day to enable all people to pay their respects at Chaityabhoomi, on the ‘Mahaparinirvana Divas’ tomorrow,” said Prof. Gaikwad.
Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has made elaborate arrangements to welcome over a million followers of Dr. Ambedkar from all over the country who will converge at Chaityabhoomi, in Dadar west, to pay their respects to Dr. Ambedkar here on Wednesday.
Born in Mhow town -- now renamed as 'Dr. Ambedkar Nagar' in Madhya Pradesh -- on April 14, 1891, Dr. Ambedkar , who was the first Law & Justice Minister of Independent India, breathed his last on December 6, 1956.
Dr. Ambedkar's mortal remains were cremated at the Chaityabhoomi here where a sea of humanity converges every year to pay homage to him.