BJP national president Amit Shah will go ahead with his plan to take a holy dip, named ‘Samrasta Snan’ (social harmony bath), with Dalit sadhus in the Shipra river on Wednesday during the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Ujjain despite reservations from some quarters.
Shah, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, BJP MP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan and some other state ministers would be taking part in the bath, state BJP media in-charge Hitesh Bajpai said on Wednesday.
The ‘Snan’ comes at a time when RSS is organising a series of functions to draw Dalits and tribals into its fold in the wake of the backlash caused by its chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statement calling for review of the reservation policy before the Bihar Assembly polls last year.
However, the Dwarka-Sharda and Jyotish Peeth’s Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati and Akhil Bharatiya Akahara Parishad president Narendra Giri have criticised the plan, saying sadhus have no caste and everybody was always free to take holy dip during the Kumbh.
There should be no politicking to divide the sadhus on caste lines at the Kumbh, Shankaracharya has said. Senior RSS leader and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh vice president Prabhakar Kelkar said two days ago that the social harmony bath gave the impression that there had been discrimination against Dalits at the Kumbh until now.
Union Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot had also been invited to the ‘Snan’, said Ajay Pratap Singh, vice president of Deendayal Vichar Prakashan, an RSS outfit.
“Dalits will participate in the Snan in large numbers. Members of other communities too will take part ... it will be followed by Samrasta Bhoj (harmony lunch),” he said.