In an apparent setback to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the four main Shankaracharyas have decided to stay away from a VHP-sponsored religious gathering held to discuss the core issues pertaining to the Hindu community, especially the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
And the “Marg Darshak Mandal”, which will coincide with the ongoing “Mahakumbh” festival, is to take place in Prayag, Allahabad, on Wednesday and Thursday.
“This is not first time but most of the time the recognised Shankarchayas have always refused to be part of the VHP-RSS Bajrang Dal agenda,” said Amarnath Mishra, political representative of Shankaracharya Swami Swarupananand, who heads two Peeths -- the Dwarika Shardapeeth in Gujarat and the Badrikasharam Peeth in the Himalayas.
The two other pontiffs, Swami Nichalanand of Puri Peeth and Bharti Teerthji of Shrengeri Peeth in Tamil Nadu, will also give the meeting a miss, according to Mishra, who said the Sangh Parivar knows only too well that the Shankarcharyas stay away from its meetings to avoid the prospect of endorsing the RSS-VHP agenda of facilitating the electoral triumph of a particular political party (the BJP).
Meanwhile, VHP supremo Ashok Singhal , who has already reached Allahabad has said that the seers would not tolerate any delay in the construction of the Ram Temple and would announce a road map for the project.
Interestingly, Singhal pointed out that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA Government had come to power, promising to build the Ram Temple. However, once the party was in power, it dropped the idea resulting in the NDA being voted out.
“When it dumped the Ram Temple issue , people dumped it,” he quipped.
In a chat with Express, VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma said that on the opening day of the Marg Darshak Mandal on Wednesday, about 300 seers and office-bearers of the parishad would discusss the three main issues -- the construction of the Ram Temple, protection of cows and conservation of the Ganges and adopt resolutions in this regard.Newly-elected BJP chief Rajnath Singh is also expected to attend the meeting of the “Marg Darshak Mandal”.
And the resolutions adopted by the mandal,which is the apex body of the saints, would be tabled at the “Sant Sammelan” -- the general body of nearly 10,000 saints -- for its ratification before taking a final decision on the course of action on the issues and the resolutions.
And VHP secretary Purishottam told Express that the seers were expected to give a final call for the construction of the Ram Temple.
“If the Centre can issue an ordinance in an incident like the Delhi gangrape in less than a week’s time, why could it not issue an ordinance for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya . Is it (any) less important an issue than the Delhi incident,” he said.