Monday, January 19, 2009

‘Prati Kolhapur’ – Kore flexes his muscle in Mumbai

Last week, Kolhapur descended on Shivaji Park in Mumbai during an event called ‘Prati Kolhapur’. If the surging crowds (more than 1 Lac visitors on each of the four days) were an indication, the event was a roaring success. Nitin Desai’s magic recreated some of the grand buildings of Kolhapur… From Mahalaxmi temple to New Palace and from Old Palace to a gigantic statue of Mahalaxmi’s consort – Jyotiba… With non stop folk performances, wrestling matches and crisp winter air, it was a spectacle not to be missed! The only sore point in the whole event was the arrangement of stalls… worse than a village fair. The food stalls were filthy… and one had to wade through muck to reach some of them. Those who had come with the expectation of buying Irkal Sarees and famed Kolhapuri jewellery (Saaj, Thushi etc) were left high and dry. Even the famed Kolhapuri chappal stalls were covered in red dust from the cricket ground! The organizers should look into this aspect if they plan to make this a recurring event in the years to come.

Prati Kolhapur can be considered as a show of strength by Vinay Kore, Minister for renewable energy in the current Maharashtra Government (Ranked 18th in MahaPol Powerlist Jan 09). This was an attempt to expand his powerbase beyond South Maharashtra, where his party Jana Surajya Shakti is very powerful. His plan includes bringing together estimated 4.5 Lac Kolhapuris from Mumbai to build a ‘Kolhapur Bhavan’ in the city. 3M won’t be surprised if his party fields a few candidates in Mumbai in the coming elections… probably after having a tie-up with Raj Thackeray’s MNS. Thackeray incidentally gave a fiery speech from the ‘Prati Kolhapur’ dias in support of Vinay Kore.

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