Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, who had objected to the coining of 'Har Har Modi' slogan used in the latter's rally here, will not campaign against BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi in Varanasi.
The Shankaracharya lords over Jyotish and Sharda-Dwarka peeths and has a sizeable following in the temple town where he runs Sri Vidya Math, a major religious centre.
"We have no association with any political party. The Shankaracharya will not campaign for any candidate. His opposition to the Har Har Modi slogan does not mean he will campaign against Modi. Any news related in this regard is not authentic," said Swami Avimukteshwaranand, Saraswati's main disciple.
The decision of Saraswati, known to be close to Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, has dealt a severe blow to party supporters in Varanasi. There were speculations that he would go beyond opposing the 'objectionable' slogan on Modi and work against the BJP.
Varanasi became the epicentre of the ongoing political battle after AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal challenged Modi and the Congress put up five-time MLA Ajay Rai.
Both AAP and Congress have been the 300,000 Muslim voters in the constituency. The latter was also said to have approached the Shankaracharya in order to appeal to his followers.
Some prominent saints of Kashi have already declared their support to Modi. They include Mahant Santosh Das of Satwa Baba Ashram, which was established 300 years ago at Manikarnika ghat by an ascetic from Bhavnagar in Gujarat.