Millennium Post

Just a mild touch of saffron

The present ruling party at the Centre had always been spiritually powerful with representation of the saffron personalities in the elected bodies right from the day of its emergence under the leadership of late S P Mukerjee, earlier heading Hindu Mahasabha, prior to joining  interim cabinet headed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Mukerjee after quitting the Nehru cabinet over certain differences consulted the then RSS Chief Golwalkar and formed Bhartiya Jansangh on 21 October 1951.

The Jansangh, an earlier incarnation of the BJP, expanded its wings by preaching policies of Hinduism including Cow and Hindi issues. While concentrating on these issues, the BJP forcefully took up Ram Janmabhoomi issue to turn it into a pan- India movement. This brought the party close to large number of saints, sanyasis and religious personalities. The close association of saffron clad saints resulted in increasing representation in the Assemblies and Parliament and coincidentally paved way for election of sanyasis on the ticket of Jansangh and BJP.

The six sanyasis/yogis have been elected as the BJP member in the 16th Lok Sabha. Swami Rameshwaranand as Jansangh MP represented Karnal parliamentary segment in 1962, those were the days when the party used to propagate Hindi and take up cow and Kashmir issues. Swami Chinmayanand and Sadhvi Uma Bharati and others are product of Ram temple movement.  These two held important ministerial berths under Vajpayee government. A number of eminent personalities with spiritual background like Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar have been directly or indirectly boosting the prospects of the party apart from demanding election tickets and even ministerial positions for their disciples. This time the BJP conceded a few tickets though refused to come under pressure during cabinet formation.

All six BJP Lok Sabha members are from the cow belt, three are first timers whereas the rest are veterans in the field, elected thrice till now. Four came from UP and the other two from Rajasthan.  The newcomers, Yogi Chandnath and Swami Sumedhanand Saraswati, have been elected from Rajasthan and Sadhvi Savitri Bai Foole from UP.  The veterans are Yogi Adityanath, Swami Sakshi Hari Maharaj and Sadhvi Uma Bharati from UP. Both newcomers from Rajasthan have roots in Haryana that too in or around Rohtak, a politically conscious and Arya Samajis dominated district. Both newly elected MPs, in their nomination forms, mentioned their income as zero and later on gave nil account of their election expenditures. Yogi Chandnath inherited throne of Baba Mastnath Math, Asthal Bohar, and Rohtak from his guru and former Minister Baba Shreyonath who entered politics at the instance of the then CM, Haryana, B D Sharma. Chandnath also inherited large empire of hospitals, Baba Mastnath University and schools apart from political turf from his guru. Chandnath defeated a Congress stalwart and Union Minister Bhanwar Jitender Singh at Alwar.

The other saffron elected MP from Sikar; Swami Sumedhanand Saraswati has been actively associated with, Sarvdeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, the highest boy of Arya Samaj. He has been a preacher, founder of a vedic ashram and an apolitical figure. He humbled his Congress opponent by around 2.4 lakh votes. The third first timer saffron clad MP is Sadhvi Savitri Bai Foole, elected from Bahraich. She defeated a SP candidate by a margin of over 95,000 votes. It is learnt that a number of cases are registered against her though she is yet to be convicted for any case.  The three saffron clad first timers could make it only because of Modi wave. The other three saffron clad MPs had been active in politics for the last couple of decades and have been elected from UP. Swami Sachidanand Hari Sakshi Maharaj has been elected from Unnao by defeating A S Shukla of SP by over three lakh votes.  He was earlier elected to the 10th, 11th and 12th Lok Sabha as BJP nominee.  Maharaj, a well educated personality, writer and Sanskrit scholar has been running a number of girl’s educational institutes. He once joined SP to contest election and vowed to eliminate the BJP. He rejoined BJP to contest elections for the 16th Lok Sabha. 

Yogi Adityanath, a disciple of a former MP, staunch supporter of Ram Mandir and head of Gorakhnath Math-Advaitnath, has been re-elected to Lok Sabha. Apart from the BJP cadres as his supporters, young MP Adityanath has the backing of his Hindu Yuva Vahini.  He once became instrumental in defeat of a BJP candidate in the Assembly elections. The last but not the least is Sadhvi Uma Bharti, presently a Cabinet minister, for the first time been elected to the lower house from Jhansi constituency, away from her home state. A fiery speaker, katha vachak, former CM, five time MP, former Union minister, Sadhvi had been in the habit of putting her party in embarrassing situations.  Once she formed Bhartiya Janshakti Party she could not cut any ice in elections. Presently she has been vigorously spearheading the ‘Clean Ganga’ campaign. Since Sadhvi has no dearth of issues to initiate collision, nobody knows till how long she would continue to toe the party line.

The author is a communication consultant
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