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MP party sees red in RSS? consecration of tribal god

Consecration of a tribal deity by the RSS has exacerbated tension between BJP and the GGP, reports Lamuel Lall.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2007 19:50 IST

Consecration of a tribal deity by the RSS in Badgaon village of Dindori district last week has exacerbated the simmering tension between the BJP and the Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) in this predominantly tribal region, especially Mandla and Dindori districts.

The GGP suspected it as a subtle ploy to appropriate the quintessentially Gondi deity as an incarnation of Lord Shiva, and, by extension, the entire Gond tribe into the Hindu fold.

The Sangh Parivar's Swami Akhileshwaranand Giri, who was instrumental in getting the Bada Deo idol consecrated, claims that the deity was Lord Madhveshar according to a Hindu text, and Gonds too were Hindus.

Significantly, the consecration followed a much-publicised tribal congregation to mark the birth centenary of the second RSS chief MS Golwalkar. RSS chief KS Sudarshan and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan were present at the function organised by the Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra. Both cautioned tribals against conversion to Christianity.

The GGP, which projects Bada Deo as a symbol of Gond unity, is fuming at the RSS move. "The Sangh Parivar is plotting to divide the Gonds over their deity as it plotted to divide the Hindus and the Muslims over the Ayodhya issue," says State GGP chief Gulzar Singh Markam.

"Gonds have been worshipping Bada Deo for ages and were never told that the deity is an incarnation of Lord Madhveshar. It is ridiculous."

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, dismissed such apprehensions. "It is wrong to see the Bada Deo consecration through a political prism. We don't consider the GGP a political threat any way," Chouhan had remarked during his visit to Badagaon village on January 27.

The GGP had won three tribal assembly segments and influenced many others in the 2003 assembly elections. Since then, it has been organising tribal meets and consolidating its position. The RSS has now woken up to counter the GGP campaign.

BJP MP from Mandla Faggan Singh Kulaste accuses the GGP of misinterpreting religion by claiming that Gonds weren't Hindus.

"Tribals have been worshipping Vishnu and Shiva from the time immemorial. But, the GGP is getting idols of Vishnu and Lord Shiva removed from tribal homes for its vested interest," he alleged.

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First Published: Feb 01, 2007 19:50 IST