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Kumbh: Mulayam takes sadhus' blessings
January 20, 2007 18:25 IST
In a development which could have far reaching political implications, embattled Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav took blessings from representatives of akharas camping at the world famous Ardh Kumbh fair in Allahabad on Saturday.
Interestingly, the saints were led by Mahant Gyan Das, the president of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad -- the coordinating body of the 13 akharas -- who is also a sworn adversary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bharatiya Janata Party.
The CM flew to Allahabad on Saturday morning and reached the Triveni Sangam -- confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers -- to personally see the arrangements there. He later took a spiritual dip in the Sangam at the VIP ghat.
The CM's carcade then left for the camp of ABAP, also on the 7,000 acre Ardh Kumbh fair arena. After reaching the ABAP camp, Mulayam Singh garlanded the representatives of akharas seated on the stage.
While some representatives of the akharas garlanded him, other saints capped his shoulders with a 'Ramnami' silken shawl and tied a turban on his head also bearing the name of Lord Ram, which could well be suggestive of the new political equations in the wake of VHP's recent resolution to start construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya from this year.
The biggest of the 13 akharas, the Joona Akhara represented by ABAP general secretary Mahant Hari Giri, presented Mulayam Singh with a rudraksha chain.
"This rudraksha chain will not only help Mulayam Singh remain the UP CM, but also help him become the prime minister of the country," Mahant Hari Das maintained.
He also demanded that the UP government announce a special package for the akharas on the lines of the erstwhile Uma Bharti government in Madhya Pradesh and Congress government in Uttarakhand.
Showering their blessings on the Samajwadi Party supremo, other saints, including Darshan Muni Naga Baba termed Mulayam as faulad, who could not be stopped even by a hurricane. "Hum ab inhe kendra ki satta par kabiz dekhna chahte hain," (We want to see him occupy the chair at the Centre) the Naga Baba added.
Thanking the saints for their generosity, Mulayam Singh, in a lighter vein, remarked that seeking blessings from saints was a "difficult task, but I got their ashirwad easily. I will now repay them with my public welfare initiatives."
Mulayam Singh also promised to change the face of Prayag before the next Kumbh in six years' time.
The CM further assured he would announce a special package for the akharas before the last royal bathing on Basant Panchami (January 23), if the ABAP members came out with a concrete proposal by Saturday evening.
The ABAP members, responding to the CM's call, said they would do so by the evening. "The proposal, when accepted, will result in tax benefits to akharas during further Kumbh at Prayag, besides state finance devoted solely for the welfare of akharas," Mahant Gyan Das said.
The occasion evoked the participation of all akharas, except the Awahan Akhara, which had boycotted two of three royal baths at the Ardh Kumbh, demanding separate time for their royal bathing in the Sangam.
The akharas present on the occasion, included the Panchayati Maha Nirvani, Bada Udasin, Atal, Anand, Agni, Nirmohi Ani, Digambar Ani, Joona and Nirvani Akharas.