The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Eye on poll, CM salutes seer for rain

Bhopal, Oct. 9: Sonia Gandhi might have sworn off soft Hindutva after the Gujarat decimation, but Digvijay Singh has not.

The Madhya Pradesh chief minister, facing a challenge from the BJP’s Uma Bharti in the December Assembly elections, today took the stage with a seer he credits with bringing rain to the parched state and the country.

Digvijay publicly acknowledged Sri Sri 108 Namdevji Das Tyagi’s services to mankind, saying he sat in samadhi with a band tied on his eyes for four chaturmasa months praying to the rain gods till they blessed Madhya Pradesh with enough water. Several pre-poll surveys have shown that the good monsoon this season has somewhat shored up his shrinking ratings.

The occasion was the Netra Punmilan Samaroh, a function many thought would feature a miracle performance aimed at restoring vision.

Actually, it marked the “re-establishing of eye contact” between Digvijay and Sri Sri 108. His eyes closed, Sri Sri 108, in spotless white dhoti and angavastram and with flowing beard, was a picture of humility, crediting Digvijay with all that’s good in society.

He said that five months ago, Digvijay had tied the band on his eyes at Narsinghpur with one prayer on his lips — good rains. The seer had agreed on one condition — he wanted to see the chief minister first, once his wish came true.

The mutual eulogising continued through the function. Digvijay underlined the primacy of dharma, saying faith had supreme power to surmount any adversity.

The mechanical engineer-turned-politician said there was no clash between science and religion as true religion rationalises the progress made in science and technology.

Miracles were a part and parcel of faith, he said, claiming that even developed nations were discovering its virtue.

Sri Sri 108 went a step further, equating Digvijay’s regime with Ram Rajya. He said Divijay was an ideal “sanatan dharmi”, ensuring justice, fair play and according top priority to religion. In a prophetic burst, he even predicted a landslide victory for Digvijay.

Asked about the significance of 108, the seer said it is a sacred number in Hindu scriptures implying completeness or wholeness. Krishna had 108 gopis, Vaishnavas have 108 holy places, Hindu and Buddhist rosaries have 108 beads, and so on.

The function was part of a pattern — Digvijay’s campaign has increasingly taken a religious slant to counter the saffron-clad sadhvi. Two days ago, he was seen touching the feet of various godmen at a public function, where he acknowledged the supremacy of the “Brahminical order” and promised to fulfil his “dharma” of rewarding priests.

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