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SMRITI KAK RAMACHANDRAN | THE HINDU | GORAKHPUR | APRIL 20, 2014 :: Mahant Avaidyanath, head of the Gorakhnath Math, is 98, but age and failing health have not weakened his resolve to “revive Hindutva and protect Hindus.”
The BJP, the party he supports, says development and good governance are its planks in the Lok Sabha election. But the Mahant, who was at the forefront of the Ram temple movement in Ayodhya, asserts that the election is an opportunity to reclaim the “shrinking space for Hindus in India.”
“We are fighting the elections on the agenda of revival of Hindutva and protection of Hindus who are in danger. If Hindus are threatened in India, where in the world will they be safe?” asks the four-time MP from here, who has been leading the revival and propagation of right-wing Hindu nationalism.
“We will support anyone who agrees with, and follows, our Hindutva philosophy, even if they are our enemies,” he told The Hindu in an exclusive conversation at his residence here.
The senior Mahant of the Math was earlier a Hindu Mahasabha leader.
Dismissing allegations that Mr. Modi and the BJP are “divisive” and “communal,” the Mahant says: “Anyone who tries to revive Hindutva, anyone who speaks up for Hindus is perceived as communal by the people who are essentially just enemies of Hindus and Hindutva.”
The Mahant, whose disciple Yogi Adityanath, sitting BJP MP from Gorakhpur, has succeeded him, says the Math’s main concern today is to “keep Hindutva alive.” [The Hindu].
* Yogi Adityanath is also the BJP contestant this time again in General election 2014 from Gorakhpur Loksabha seat. ~ Hindu Existence.
SMRITI KAK RAMACHANDRAN | THE HINDU | GORAKHPUR | APRIL 20, 2014 :: Hoardings and posters of candidates are conspicuously absent in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur parliamentary constituency. Barring a couple of billboards of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi promising “Achche din” (good days), there is little by way of electioneering.
“This city chooses Baba; what is there to discuss? What good are posters when we all swear by him?” asks a shop owner in Golghar.
Yogi Adityanath, aka Baba, is the head priest of the Gorakhnath Mutt and the sitting MP since 1998. He is the presumed winner of the forthcoming polls.
The city is not only ready to re-elect him, but is also geared up to vote for “Modi”, who is “Baba’s choice.” The Yogi-politician has the final word in Gorakhpur and people eulogise him; they blame the lack of development in the city on successive Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party-led governments in the State.
While a majority of the city seems to have already chosen its MP, the minority communities — the backward classes and Dalits (Gorakhpur has a sizable Chamar population) — are divided in their opinion. “There are about 20,000-odd Christians in Gorakhpur and they have traditionally been Congress supporters. But this time there is a dilemma, some are supporting the Aam Aadmi Party, though its presence here is almost non-existent; others are thinking of going with the SP. But like the Muslims, the community is not the BJP’s vote bank,” says Rev. Roshan All of St. John’s Church in Bashartpur.
Not all residents endorse the assertion by the Gorakhpur temple that Hindus and Muslims co-exist in peace. “There are fewer clashes; incidents like Muzaffarnagar have not happened in recent times, but that doesn’t mean there is no tension,” says a Muslim resident, requesting not to be named.
Gorakhpur, on the banks of the Rapti, is considered the bedrock of right-wing Hindutva forces. It is also now home to the deadly Encephalitis that claims hundreds of lives every year.
The lack of development, avenues for employment and poor infrastructure are hard to ignore. [The Hindu].
** The legacy of Gorakhpur Matth is traditionally attached with Dharma Raksha, Go Raksha, Ganga Raksha, Sanskrit Prachar, Ghar wapsi (Reconversion of Hindus) and Youth Organisation. – Hindu Existence.
Courtesy: The Hindu | Modi Times.