Godmen have a field day as polls draw near
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Godmen have a field day as polls draw near

As assembly elections draw near, godmen and soothsayers are having a field day in Chhattisgarh, reports Raja Bhattacharjee.

india Updated: Oct 13, 2003 15:16 IST

As assembly elections draw nearer with each passing day, godmen and soothsayers are having a field day in Chhattisgarh. Host of ministers and Opposition leaders have begun flocking to godman, astrologers and tantriks in order to know their prospects in the elections.

In the last two weeks alone, as many as eleven state ministers secretly visited the famous Sogra ashram in Jashpur district to reportedly consult a senior tantrik-astrologer known for his accurate predictions about Chief Minster Ajit Jogi. And more than seven BJP MLAs and thirty-two fresh ticket seekers from NCP and BJP have lighted "Jyoti Kalash' at Mahamaya temple in Ratanpur area of Bilaspur district ostensibly to propitiate the Goddess.

BJP state president Raman Singh, Leader of Opposition, Nand Kumar Sai and local BJP MLA Amar Agrawal are said to be in constant touch with a tantrik baba stationed at Belgahana block, known to possess exclusive transcripts from Bhrigu Samhita, said to be the last word on astrology. Baba's son Ramnath admits that the ministers' visits had increased sharply in the last fortnight. "I do not know why it is so?" the octogenarian baba mused. But most of my chelas (disciples), he says, were worried about their prospects at the hustings.

Another astrologer Dr Sushil Srivastava admits that they are in great demand. The astrologers point out that the forthcoming elections have already heralded a new era as even leaders like CM Ajit Jogi and Central Minster Dilip Singh Judev too are testing the waters. A random interview with over two dozen star gazers reveals that they are now concentrating in keeping a minute by minute tab on planets through their cosmic calendar in order to divine whether that much-coveted ticket will come their client's way. And then, do the heavens, the horoscope; the tarot cards predict a win?

"Queries by politicians vary from expanding their mass base, attaining more power and, as usual, when will lady luck smile on them," says astrologer Dr Sushil Srivastava, claiming a clientele of several politicians.

However, most of the politicians publicly deny that they have faith in astrology. Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, who filed his nomination papers for Marwahi bye-election right at 12.32 pm in February 2001 reportedly on the advice of a senior astrologer too claims that he does not believe in astrology and palmistry. "I have filed the nomination paper at a particular time because a well wisher who has faith in astrology asked me to do so," Jogi told the Hindustan Times over telephone. Assembly Speaker RP Shukla who recently lighted a Jyoti Kalash at Mahamaya temple says, "I do not visit any astrologer to know the prospects of elections. Voters of my constituency are my future makers so I visit them regularly," says Shukla.

But many young Congress ticket seekers are of the view that at this moment Jogi is their best soothsayer. "After all, Jogi will play a vital role in ticket distribution and therefore it is better to rely on him than running behind astrologers," said a Congressman who is seeking a ticket from Bilaspur.

First Published: Oct 01, 2003 21:16 IST