The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Seer thorn in BJP election plan

Vasan (Gandhinagar), Aug. 23: A saffron clad seer has never haunted the saffron party as much as Govardhan Puri sankaracharya Swami Adhokskshajanad Tirthji.

The presence of a seer, who is camping in the native village of Gujarat Congress president Shankarsinh Vaghela for several weeks now, is giving the BJP a tough time.

It was in this village that Vaghela, then a senior leader of the BJP in Gujarat, had devised a strategy to pull down the BJP government in 1995 when the party first wrested power from the Congress. Vaghela had eventually succeeded in his game plan.

This time around, Vaghela intends to rope in not just the Sankaracharya but the entire brigade of sants and mahants from across Gujurat to counter the saffron party in the coming Assembly elections.

Although the seer has been invited to perform Rudramahayagna, it seems he has a bigger political agenda on hand. And he makes no bones about his dislike for the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and the BJP, which he equates with the Muslim League that had divided the nation.

If these “devil forces” have to be stopped, Vaghela feels, sadhus will have to play a pro-active role. There are five lakh sadhus in the country and if they become active, they can bring about a spiritual revolution and restore harmony, he says.

Come September 10, the Sankaracharya will direct sadhus and mahants to mobilise youths to get rid of “sinners and monsters” by overthrowing the BJP government.

The Sankaracharya will host a meeting of the National Pratinidhi Sabha of sadhus representing all sects, where the sadhus will be assigned specific roles. “We will announce our programme after the meeting, which will be a turning point in the history of Gujarat,” said the Sankaracharya.

Expectedly, the VHP is unhappy with Tirthji for accepting Vaghela’s hospitality. Vaghela is the chairman of the Vasania Mahadev temple, which has invited the seer to perform the yagna.

“He is not a Sankaracharya, he is a just a fraud who is serving the political interest of some politicians. The real sankaracharya of Puri is Swami Nishchilanandji,” said VHP international secretary Pravin Togadia.

Tirthji retorted: “Those involved in the killing of innocent people are a blot on the name of Hindus and they are insulting Hinduism which they do not understand. They are actually criminals.”

Referring to the BJP’s so-called “Hindu laboratory” in Gujarat, Tirthji said he would not let the laboratory function. “We will crush it,” he said, so that humanity does not suffer ever again.

Tirthji justified his coming to Gujarat saying that there was need for a “revolution” as calamities had struck Gujarat because the ruler had broken the law of nature. It is the duty of the “dharmaguru” to restore peace and harmony and “this is why I am here”.

The VHP is also upset with Tirthji, who has been speaking of a new nyaas to decide the fate of the Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid that will “reject all those who have been using the Ram Mandir for instigating communal violence”.

Togadia said he respected the Tirthji’s freedom of expression but added that he should not call himself a Sankaracharya, which he is not.

It is the Catholicism of Hinduism that he (Tirthji) is speaking many things which he should not, Togadia said. He added “secularists were using Tirthji for Hindu bashing”.

The Sankaracharya is likely to tour the state extensively in the run-up to the elections. Senior Congress leaders like Amarsinh Chaudhary, Dilip Parikh and Urmilaben Patel have paid visit to the Sankaracharya. Congress president Sonia Gandhi has also been invited to seek the seer’s blessings when she visits Gujarat on Sunday.

Vaghela has also lined up a grand function by the Congress- ruled Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation some time next month to felicitate the Sankaracharya.

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