Delhi's politicians are becoming starry-eyed, figuratively. Assembly elections in the capital are not even two months away and many politicians have begun flocking to astrologers to know what lies in store for them in the future.
BB Sharma, 56, is one such astrologer who has been flooded with horoscopes from leaders who want to know their chances of landing a party ticket. The Delhi-based astrologer has also been getting queries from leaders who are assured of a ticket but want to know the best time to file their nominations and their chances of winning.
"Most of them want to do everything at an auspicious time. They are more worried about their own prospects rather than that of their parties," said Sharma. His grandfather Mangat Ram Sharma was one of the three astrologers who decided the 'auspicious time' for the country's declaration of Independence in 1947.
"In politics, a lot depends on the stars. I believe reading a horoscope is like reading an X-ray. If I see a problem, I prescribe remedies," he added.
Ashok Sanoria, 58, is a suave English-speaking astrologer whose nearly 80% of political clients are from the BJP.
"Maybe they are more desperate to win than any other political party. Most of them want to know what colour they should wear, when should they file their nominations and begin campaigning as well as if they could win and by how much margin. But I can say that a number of BJP leaders have stars on their side," said Sanoria.
He added that the BJP aspirants are being helped by the stars of their top leaders, especially the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. "Modi's stars are very strong, which will help every party candidate in the Delhi assembly elections too," he added.
Sanoria said many well-known politicians call him to their homes or offices for consultation while the first-timers come calling at his office in east Delhi.
Ajay Bhambi, another well-know astrologer, too is getting a regular stream of visitors from Delhi's political circles. "I help them devise a strategy to be in sync with the cosmos to emerge victorious in the elections. I tell them when to be secretive, calm or aggressive in their approach," he said.
Most city astrologers say that for politicians to succeed, their sun has to be strong. If that's not the case, they offer them remedies to please the stars.
Sanoria and Sharma have already told many politicians to perform pujas, make donations and chant mantras to correct the planetary position. "Such rituals can cost anything between Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 40,000, depending on its scale. But for them it's a small price to pay," said Sharma.
Another well- known city astrologer, who did not wish to be named, said that most politicians are quite secretive about seeking divine help. "They want to give the impression that they do not believe in astrology, but the fact is every politician has his own astrologer. In fact, many of the first-timers want me to use my influence on their senior leaders to help them get tickets," he claimed.
"Nobody has more faith in astrologers than politicians. On the day of filing nominations, they leave home at the time suggested by them, wear clothes and gemstones suggested by the astrologer, insert an extra word in their names… But it does not always pay," said a senior Delhi Congress leader, on the condition of anonymity.
Bharat Upmanyu, a prominent astrologer who has contested the Lok Sabha elections from Ajmer, said, "The future is always uncertain in politics and the stakes are high. That's what stems their desire to know the future."