Battle for UP: Now Ayodhya saints yearn for career in politics


Apparently inspired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, it is now the saints of who want to take the political plunge.

Mahant Raju Das, one of the priests of the Hanuman Garhi temple, and Mahant Paramhans Das of Tapasvi Ji Ki Chhawani are among the prominent saints who want to contest the polls from the (Sadar) Assembly seat, which is considered a VIP constituency.

The BJP’s Ved Prakash Gupta, is the sitting MLA from this seat and also a contender for the 2022 ticket.

The Ram Janmabhoomi, where a grand Ram temple is under construction, is in this constituency.

Mahant Paramhans Das said: “I have decided to contest the polls from the Assembly seat. I am seeking the ticket from the BJP. If the party denies the ticket, then I will file my nomination as an independent candidate.”

Talking about his agenda, he said: “If maulvis get salary, then seers must also get salary.”

Paramhans Das has often been in the news for staging protests and making controversial statements.

A year before the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Ayodhya title suit in November 2019, Paramhans Das had announced he would immolate himself by sitting on a funeral pyre if the Central government failed to bring an ordinance for construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Mahant Raju Das is also said to be keen on a parallel political career and has even spoken to top BJP leaders in this regard.

However, Acharya Satyendra Das, head priest of Ram Lalla temple, is against saints entering active politics.

“There are two nitis (policies) – Rajniti (politics) and Dharamniti (religion). Those who are into Dharamniti must not take part in Rajniti. These are two different fields,” he said.

Satyendra Das, 82, is a former Sanskrit lecturer and has been performing puja of Ram Lalla at the makeshift Ram Janmabhoomi temple for the past 28 years.

He had recently said that it was a good decision that Yogi Adityanath did not contest the Ayodhya seat.

Swami Avimukteshwaranand, earlier this week, had said that saints should not become Chief Ministers.

“No man can abide by two pledges. A saint can be a ‘mahant’ but not a Chief Minister or Prime Minister. This is possible in the ‘khilafat’ system of Islam in which the religious head also happens to be the king,” the seer said in an apparent reference to Yogi Adityanath.

Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, successor designate of Mahant Nritya Gopal Das who is chairman of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, is also against saints contesting the election.

The Ayodhya district has five Assembly seats – Ayodhya (Sadar), Rudauli, Mulkipur, Bikapur and Gosaiganj. The BJP won all of them in the 2017 polls.

The Samajwadi Party has fielded Tej Narain Pandey for the seat.

Ayodhya goes to polls in the fifth phase on February 27.

–IANS

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(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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