Chief Minister Ashok Chavan may be on the verge of stirring up his first controversy, as he gets ready to assume the state’s highest political office for the second time.
Unconfirmed reports that Chavan will host his spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba at his official residence, Varsha, on Sunday sparked a debate if the head of a progressive state should use taxpayers’ money to honour and worship his guru.
“The propriety of the CM’s post will diminish if Chavan hosts Sathya Sai Baba, at Varsha,” said Narendra Dabholkar of Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (Organisation for Eradication of Superstition).
Hindustan Times tried calling Chavan but he did not respond because he was busy receiving visitors who had come to greet him on his 51st birthday on Wednesday. But while speaking to a private news channel he did not confirm Sathya Sai Baba’s proposed visit and luncheon satsang at his residence.
“Baba is my spiritual guru since my birth,” Chavan said. Chavan’s father, Shankarao, was an ardent follower and so are ex-CM Vilasrao Deshmukh and several other politicians. “I have always sought Baba’s blessings whenever possible.”
Chavan took time off from a busy schedule on Wednesday morning to meet the spiritual guru at Pune’s Lohegaon airport for half an hour. Sathya Sai Baba left for Hadshi village in Mulshi to attend a three-day religious event. He will be in Mumbai on October 31.
Former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, state ministers Patangrao Kadam and Jayant Patil also sought Sathya Sai Baba’s blessings.
Several politicians are expected to visit Sathya Sai Baba. A helipad has been constructed at the site.