For goddess’ sake: Raje in another row
The strained relations between Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her one-time mentor Jaswant Singh took a queer turn on Friday when the former foreign minister’s wife filed a complaint against a poster depicting the Chief Minister as the Goddess Annapurna.
In her complaint, Singh’s wife Sheetal Kanwar has alleged that the poster depicting Raje as the goddess has hurt the “religious sentiments of the Hindus” and demanded action against those involved in preparing and releasing the poster.
Printed by Pandit Hemant Vohra and released by BJP legislator Suryakant Vyas, the poster also shows Atal Behari Vajpayee, L K Advani and Rajnath Singh as Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, respectively. The Jodhpur police have started investigation into the complaint.
Reacting to Kanwar’s allegations, Vohra said he gave the status of God to Raje because she had started schemes like the mid-day meal.
Pandit said, “some senior leaders in the BJP are not liking the popularity of the chief minister hence a proxy war has been launched to damage her prestige.” “Due to their contributions to society, the top leaders like Vajpayee, Advani and Rajnath Singh have been shown as Gods which is in accordance with the Indian tradition,” he said.
This is not the first time that Raje’s portrayal as a deity has created a controversy. In 2006, one of her ministers Pratap Singh Singhvi had whipped up a storm when he claimed that he worshipped her picture everyday. He had justified it by saying that she was like a mother to him hence there was no harm in worshipping her.
On another occasion, the state government’s public relations department had issued a press note claiming that the CM has a ‘hotline’ with the Gods. Yet another government publication had claimed that Raje had become the “ruler of Rajasthan” to avenge the death of an ancestor in a battle near Jodhpur.
Meanwhile, the BJP was quick to distance itself from the controversy. BJP MPs Kiran Maheshwari and Satyanarayan Jatiya said the party had nothing to do with the poster and that it was a matter of an individual’s sentiments.