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Chandraswami waiting to go abroad

Chandraswami, known to be close to two former prime ministers, is blaming his stars for not travelling abroad for the past 12 years.

delhi Updated: Jan 01, 2008 09:36 IST
Kanu Sarda

Once a powerful though controversial guru to the rich and the powerful, Chandraswami, known to be close to two former prime ministers, is blaming his stars for not travelling abroad for the past 12 years. But he is keeping his fingers crossed for January 4 when a court ban on his travel may be lifted.

"I am eagerly waiting for the Delhi High Court's decision for allowing me to meet my followers abroad," Chandraswami told IANS.

Swami has zeroed in on four places amongst the 118 countries he has already visited. "I will visit United Kingdom, France, Mauritius and Dubai to meet my friends and followers over there.

"Also there are many works like inauguration of offices, culmination of marriages and some other programmes will follow," he said seated in his sprawling four-storey South Delhi villa that he calls his 'ashram'.

Chandraswami, now 57, had the ear of and access to politicians like PV Narasimha Rao and Chandra Shekhar at the height of their power and influence. "I am missing Rao after his death. He is the only man who really understood what is the real India. In his tenure, India has really shined," he said.

The local court of Delhi has allowed him to travel abroad for just a month so his options might actually be limited.

Originally called Nemi Chand Jain, he is facing trial in 11 cases of violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA)/ Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and the stipulated penalties on him could well run into millions of rupees.

He was even charged in what was called the St Kitts case that sought to show that former Prime Minister VP Singh had stashed away wealth in a bank in the tiny Caribbean island by allegedly forging the signature of his son Ajeya Singh. But the charges could not be proved in court.

However, the cases have not taken away his taste for politics and he still tries his hand at making predictions like Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, can be visualised as the next prime minister.

"Modi stood up in this election on his 'siddhant' (principles) and proved to the world that even when his party had forgotten the principles, he still stood by them and this is where he got the political mileage and could be a strong contender for the post of PM," said Chandraswami.

On Indian politics he said, "There is no politics in India today. Sirf raaj hai, niti nahi (It's only power play, no policies)".

He added, "'Vanshawaad' (dynastic politics) has bogged down almost every party. It is so much like monarchy - son succeeds father. It is unfortunate that the ground people did not get the chance to come in front."

But he was tight-lipped about the possibility of launching his own political party and stated that he was ready to guide and give his blessings to any political outfit.

Chandraswami said a 140-day Shanivakriya Dasha had started from December 19 leading to political instability and that Lok Sabha polls were imminent by mid-2008.

"A stable government will be in place only in 2012. The influence of national parties will continue to decline and regional players will gain strength. People will continue to face inflation, following an example from Italy, where 30-35 regional parties run a government," he predicted.

Chandraswami puts down his downturn to the planets. "Times change with the position of planets. I am a sadhak. I have no friends or enemies," he intones, seated on a high chair, sporting tantric regalia of dhoti-kurta-silk angavastram with a prominent tilak, rudraksh around the neck and rings on fingers.

Swami's glossy ashram publication 'Vision of Life' has a paragraph on why he has earned the admiration of international heads of state and other celebrities.

According to him, they all deserve equal importance. That's the reason, apparently, why the Sultan of Brunei, rulers in the Gulf and celebrities Elizabeth Taylor continue to seek his blessings, he claims.