Aiming to cleanse politics, the Arya Samaj, the Hindu revivalist sect, has decided to jump into the political arena. This is only the second time in its 134-year history that it is doing so.
Founded by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati in 1875, the sect is set to field candidates in Haryana under the banner of the Rashtriya Arya Rajya Sabha (RARS).
Founded in Rohtak in December 2008, the RARS has been running training camps to induct people with healthy minds and a clean past. So, anyone who smokes, drinks or has a criminal background is out. “We want to spread the word that politics is for good people,” said Arya Yashbir, former Delhi Police constable and now national president of RARS.
The Arya Samaj formed its political outfit for the first time in 1970. The Arya Sabha fought Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Haryana in 1971-72 and 1977. “Its leaders were jailed during the Emergency,” said Swami Aryavesh, national president of Sarvedeshik Arya Yuvak Parishad, the youth wing of Arya Sabha.
It was in 1977 that Swami Agnivesh, a prominent Arya Samaji, and Swami Adityavesh won from the Pundari and Hatheen assembly seats respectively on Arya Sabha tickets. They then merged with the ruling Janata Party and Agnivesh became the state education minister.
According to Agnivesh, only those who truly imbibe the ideology of ‘Vedic Socialism’ should be allowed to represent the Arya Samaj. “Our current economic system is biased in favour of capitalists. It is important what this party has to offer to the poorer sections,” Agnivesh said.
Since its formation in December, the RARS has grown to 15,000 members. The party may field candidates from all the 10 parliamentary constituencies in Haryana. It has applied for registration to the Election Commission and already appointed election coordinators.