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Shah to visit Allahabad, collect feedback from seers on Kumbh

A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Lucknow to see industry captains formalise investments in Uttar Pradesh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah will reach Allahabad to connect with seers on Friday.

lucknow Updated: Jul 26, 2018 14:01 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Amit Shah,Allahabad,Feedback
The BJP chief’s Allahabad visit will be his first after completing the first round of Lok Sabha poll preparations. (HT Photo)

A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Lucknow to see industry captains formalise investments in Uttar Pradesh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah will reach Allahabad to connect with seers on Friday.

Shah’s daylong itinerary will be packed with temple visits, religious functions, meetings with seers and collecting feedback from the saints on hosting a grand Kumbh in Allahabad.

The Kumbh is scheduled for January 2019. Preparing for the 50-day mega event, considered the biggest religious gathering, will be at the core of Shah’s visit, party leaders say.

Shah is also scheduled to meet the saints of the Akhara Parishad, including its chief Narendra Giri. The Akhara Parishad is the apex body of saints from all the 14 Akharas that participate in the Kumbh and whose feedback he plans to collect, BJP leaders say.

The BJP chief’s Allahabad visit will be his first after completing the first round of Lok Sabha poll preparations.

“Of course, every Hindu has a deep connect with Kumbh. It’s what we call as the ‘asthaa ka sangam’, the confluence of faith. Though we work for each community, we have never engaged in appeasement. Kumbh is a celebration of our eternal religion and culture. We see it as that but yes, if it helps us connect electorally too, it’s even better,” Pavan Srivastava, a BJP leader from Allahabad, said on phone.

Political experts agree that the timing of the Kumbh close to general elections offers BJP an opportunity to connect with a diverse set of audience.

“Kumbh will offer a stage, like no other, to the BJP to connect with the masses. Being the ruling party at the centre and the state, it naturally will use the opportunity to connect with such a vast, diverse audience. It also fits in well with the larger line of Modi talking development and the party chief connecting with BJP’s core voters,” says Athar Siddiqui of the Centre for Objective Research and Development.

The RSS has already communicated to the Yogi Adityanath government to host the Kumbh on a scale like never before. That’s why the BJP government in UP has already decided to send out Kumbh invites to all the 70 lakh odd villages of the country, government officials confirmed.

Soon after landing at the Allahabad’s Bamrauli airport, Shah will head straight to Baba Maujgiri Math which has its headquarters in Gujarat, the BJP chief’s home state. Friday is also the Guru Purnima day when people pay obeisance to their gurus or mentors. “It’s not known yet but maybe the BJP chief will like to pay obeisance to his guru here,” a local BJP leader said.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who is also the head priest of the Gorakhnath temple, will reach Allahabad from Gorakhpur after participating in the Guru Purnima day rituals in his Mutt.

Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who hails from the region, has already arrived in Allahabad and will camp there till Shah’s visit.

A Ganga aarti at the Maujgiri ghat, participation in a Bhasma aarti later in the evening, a visit to Bade Hanuman temple on the banks of the holy river are on Shah’s agenda. A visit to the Juna Akhara is also likely. It is considered the oldest order of Naga sadhus, the seers who often move with nothing else but ash smeared on their body to indicate renunciation of worldly pleasures.

First Published: Jul 26, 2018 14:01 IST