Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Priyanka Gandhi urged to visit temple of saint who blessed Indira after 1977 rout
After facing a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Janata Party following the Emergency in 1977, former prime minister Indira Gandhi came back to power supposedly with the blessings of Devarha Baba, the saint who is said to have lived for 200 years in east UP’s Deoria.
Forty-two years on, her granddaughter and Congress party’s east UP in charge Priyanka Gandhi has been requested to visit his temple by party men, who believe that she has inherited her grandmother’s charisma and has the potential to bring the grand old party back to power.
“In 1977, Indira ji had come to seek the blessings of Devraha Baba, on whose suggestion she changed her party symbol of a cow and calf to the open hand and emerged victorious with full majority in the following election. Now, when the Priyanka ji has taken charge, we have requested her to visit the Devraha Baba temple and seek his blessings on her tour during elections, “said Deoria district Congress president Ragvendra Singh Rakesh.
Upset over the defeat after the 1975 Emergency, Indira Gandhi was chalking out her poll strategy when party colleagues from east UP CPN Singh and Kamlpati Tripathi suggested to her that she visit Devraha Baba, people familiar with the matter said.
Shyam Sundar Das, the priest of Devraha Baba temple, said, “Devraha Baba had blessed Indira Gandhi by raising his hand upward, assuring the former PM that this hand would do her a favour after which the Indira-led Congress fought and won elections on the symbol of the hand.”
Devraha Baba, who used to live in a temporary shelter set atop a 12-feet high structure of bamboos along the banks of the River Saryu, had a long list of VIP devotees, including the first President of India Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel, Rajiv Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Bollywood stars.
According to old timers who saw the saint, Devraha Baba would rarely come down from his perch and when he did, he would take an hour-long dip in the river, leading to wider assumption that he would do tough Yog Sadhna.
After his demise, his temporary bamboo shelter has been preserved and has been converted into a temple-cum-ashram.