JP chief Amit Shah travelled to Gorakhpur in east UP to pay homage to Mahant Avaidyanath, the late head priest of Gorakhnath temple whom he described as the 'soul' of the Ram temple movement.
BJP’s Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath who was appointed by Shah as the star campaigner for the UP by-polls is the new head priest of the famous temple, which is revered by the seers belonging to the ‘Nath sect’.
Amid religiously surcharged atmosphere and chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ that was first heard during the temple movement of the 90s and has been part of saffron lexicon since, Shah while recalling the late seer’s contribution hoped that Yogi would finish his mentor’s unfulfilled tasks.
Mahant Avaidyanath wanted a “grand temple” at Ayodhya. After a visit to the make shift temple, Shah had first visited Gorakhnath temple in July 2013 and behind several closed door meetings discussed political strategy for east UP with Yogi.
The BJP won the Lok Sabha elections four months back but suffered a blow in the recent by-polls, as the Yogi-fired aggressive Hindutva campaign didn’t work out in the UP by-polls which BJP lost, it was clear that Yogi would continue to have Shah’s ears. “Though I never worked with Mahant Avaidyanath, I had briefly met him during the Lok Sabha campaign and had been blessed by him.
Now I hope that Yogi Adityanath would complete the unfinished task of Mahant Avaidyanath,” Shah said. By the time Shah began his brief speech, the atmosphere was religiously surcharged. Saints and politicians who preceded him to the lectern highlighted the need for the construction of a grand temple at Ayodhya.
Volunteers of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad which had first taken up the Ram Janm Bhoomi (RJB) issue too were present in great numbers at the Gorakhpur temple.
In fact VHP leader Ashok Singhal said that the saints who were angry with the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government for not helping in the construction of Ram temple had been pacified by Mahant Avaidyannath.
“Now that we have a majority BJP government, we hope that under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath Ram temple would finally come up at Ayodhya,” he said.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan too was present on the occasion. He said: “I remember Bade Maharajji (Avaidyanath) as a very sober person who always had a smile on his face.
He worked for social welfare all his life.” The function held at the Digvijay Nath conference hall of the Gorakhnath temple had apart from Shah, Singhal and Chouhan also included Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh (Nepal) leader Hem Bahadur Karki, former union minister of state for home Swami Chinmayananda, Varanasi Peethadheswar, Swami Narendra Maharaj, Meerut MP Rajendra Agarwal and Ballia MP Bharat Singh.