Why is Modi keen to meet Acharya Vidyasagar? | bhopal | Hindustan Times
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Why is Modi keen to meet Acharya Vidyasagar?

Everyone in political circles is asking the same question —why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Acharya Vidyasagar on Friday? During his whirlwind three-hour visit to Bhopal, the prime minister has especially taken out the time to head to a Jain temple in Habibganj to meet the Jain monk for 10 minutes.

bhopal Updated: Oct 14, 2016 07:59 IST
Carrier Task Force commandos on a security drill ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit.
Carrier Task Force commandos on a security drill ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit. (HT Photo)

Everyone in political circles is asking the same question —why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Acharya Vidyasagar on Friday? During his whirlwind three-hour visit to Bhopal, the prime minister has especially taken out the time to head to a Jain temple in Habibganj to meet the Jain monk for 10 minutes.

Given the population of the Jain community in Madhya Pradesh —0.8% of the total number of people, according to the 2011 census — the meeting hardly assumes any political significance, not even in view of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

However, sources said Modi’s meeting with the Acharya on Friday should be seen in context of BJP national president Amit Shah’s June meeting with the monk in Kundalpur.

Acharya Vidyasagar is the most renowned saint in the Digambar Jain community and wields influence beyond the community too. His present campaign focuses on how to promote Hindi and make available justice to people in Hindi, encourage cottage industries, how to get the government to reduce meat exports and how to check brain drain inter alia.

Sources said the Acharya has had a meeting with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat too in this regard. The RSS agenda gets amply reflected in Acharya’s agenda as well. This is the reason Amit Shah and Modi have great regard for the Acharya.

The Acharya wants that the language of justice delivery system in any state be the official language of that particular state. Hence, in the Hindi-speaking belt, the language of justice primary should be Hindi, not English. Amid reports that meat export has gone up during the current regime at the Centre, the Acharya wants the government to reduce such exports. In his view, cottage industries will give a boost to the economic prosperity of society.

Perhaps it’s his campaign that he chose to stay in the heart of Bhopal during Chaturmas. So far, he always avoided camping in the city limits and chose a place either at the outskirts of towns or further away during Chaturmas. However, staying in the city will help him create more awareness among people on the abovementioned subjects.

State BJP leader Shailendra Sharma sees nothing between the lines during the meet. He said Modi is making a courtesy call, given the Acharya’s prominence in Bhopal. However, Digambar Jain Mahasamiti president Ravindra Jain said the meeting definitely assumes significance and that in the present circumstance, it appears more than just a courtesy visit.