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Sachin Pilot can become CM if situation allows: Satish Poonia



Satish Poonia

Jaipur, July 23 : At a time when Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has been accusing the BJP of horse trading and making all efforts to topple his government amid the Covid-19 crisis, the state BJP chief has also showered a barrage of questions on the CM saying that his party should set its own house in order before pointing fingers at others.

As the political back-and-forth continues, IANS spoke exclusively to BJP state president Satish Poonia who brushes aside allegations of BJP helping Sachin Pilot who was sacked as PCC chief and Deputy CM recently, claiming that leaders of such cadre have their own influence and fan following. Poonia says that Pilot can be Chief Minister if the situation allows.

A few excerpts from the interview:

Q: Your party has been accused of giving political shelter to Sachin Pilot who has been sacked as Deputy CM and PCC chief by Congress. What is your take on these allegations?

A: Sachin Pilot has been the Deputy CM of the state since last one-and-a-half years. He has also been the PCC chief of Rajasthan since last six years. He has his own stature. In fact, political leaders of his rank have their own influence and following. Why should BJP be blamed for giving him patronage? Allegations made by CM are beyond reality.

In fact, the CM himself has been giving patronage to his own MLAs from Gujarat and MP and has been playing resort politics in Rajasthan since last many months.

Now, why can’t Pilot too have his own support from his own party workers in other states? In fact, he is a national leader who has a strong support of people around.

Q: Which side is Rajasthan politics going? Can Mr Pilot be the CM of the state?

A: If the situation allows, Sachin Pilot can become the Chief Minister. In fact, he has taken a big step with this goal in mind. Meanwhile, the matter is subjudice in present conditions and hence it will be too early to judge the facts.

Firstly, he is the one who needs to decide what will be his next step and then we will take a call.

But one fact is clear that the Gehlot government stands on verge of collapse as they will be left with wafer-thin majority if 19 MLAs including Pilot and 3 independents who are out from Congress camp, leave the government.

Q: What shall be the BJP’s role in such circumstances?

A: BJP is monitoring all developments. As we are the party with the highest mandate after Congress, we will definitely discuss the issue with our central leaders and parliamentary board and then take a call.

Q: Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has been accused of horse trading MLAs. What is BJP’s stand in the issue?

A: Vendetta politics is being played by the CM against Shekhawat to avenge the defeat of his son during Lok Sabha elections from his home constituency Jodhpur. He wanted his son to settle down, however, he failed to garner votes even from his home seat which once stood undefeated.

Now, the state government is playing all illegal means to prove him as accused. The phone tapping audio which has been released by the party has smashed all legal norms. Did they follow legal process before tapping phones of their own leaders and ministers? Surprisingly, the ACS Home said he has no information about any tapping instance.

So there are questions raised why they were surveilling their own leaders. It’s clear that they don’t trust them.

Q: What all norms seem to be flouted here?

The Congress leaders speak of democracy but themselves flout all norms. In Rajasthan, as per the law, people representatives can be investigated by CID, CB officials and not by SOG. But the Gehlot government is flouting norms by letting SOG chase public representatives.

Even when one state government SOG team enters another state, certain norms need to be followed. However, here, no coordination was made with Haryana police.

Further Congress in its 2019 manifesto has proposed to remove Section 124 (a) which finds reference in British era and was slapped on freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak. Now, it is using the same section in its own state.

In third contradiction to norms, Congress officials have made the FIR filed by SOG public naming Congress MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma, Rajendra Singh and a broker Sanjay Jain even at a time when the norms say that the FIR in sexual offences, POCSO and sedition charges cannot be disclosed in public.

Surprisingly, Randeep Surjewala read the transcript of tapping in public going against the norms. CM OSD Lokesh Kumar also released the phone tapping audio on social media going against the norms and hence they have been trapped in the biggest criminal offence.

Q: Mr Gehlot says he has a majority on his side and he shall call the house soon? What is your view in this regard?

A: Mr Gehlot would not have been herding his MLAs in Fairmont Hotel over last one week if he had the majority numbers. During the first CLP meeting at his residence, the party said that they have 109 MLAs with them, however, 19 MLAs were camping in Haryana at that time which came out later. So they have been lying.

Out of 125, (101 Congress, 1 RLD, 13 Independents, 2 BTP, 2 CPM), 19 Congress MLAs and 3 independents are already showing support to Pilot. The ruling govt tortured BTP MLAs, packed them in a car, took away their keys and next day, they have had to stand with Gehlot showing their support. This is how they are bringing support in their favour.

CPM has already announced that it shall stand apart in floor test while one of their MLAs has been suspended by party for casting vote towards Congress in Rajya Sabha polls. One of the Congress MLAs is unwell. Out of 199-membered house, they have 99-100 members as of now which is a thin margin. However, we are waiting for things to unfold.

Q: They are blaming BJP for running the show from behind?

A: It’s sad that they failed to check the family dispute on time and now are blaming us for the same. Soon after the party came in power, the differences were clearly seen between CM and Deputy CM. However, no one tried to remove those differences. Recently the CM also accepted that since last one-and-a-half years, he was not on talking terms with Pilot.

Surprisingly, he also says that if he comes back, he shall hug him. So such contradictions have made things worse and surprisingly we are being blamed. We are nowhere in the picture. Basically, it is a mistake of high command who preferred sitting with folded hands instead of taking any action. Surprisingly, even now, AICC leaders including Randeep Surjewala, Avinash Pandey, Ajay Maken are camping here, but it is unclear how they are resolving the present crisis in the party.

The CM flashes a victory sign when his own house is collapsing. Isn’t it a contradiction which should be checked by Congress high command?


Rithambara hails Bhumi Pujan, recalls Ram temple movement

When asked about L K Advani and M M Joshi who have now taken a back seat, Rithambara said, “They lit the spark to carry the movement forward.”



Sadhvi Rithambara

Ayodhya, Aug 4 : A day before the Bhumi Pujan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Ram temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday, firebrand Hindu leader Sadhvi Rithambara expressed happiness over the event. During the Ram temple movement, her riveting speeches had a deep impact on thousands of Ram devotees. They also gave a boost to the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi movement.

In a telephonic interview with IANS Rithambara said that she could not exress her happiness over the once in a lifetime event like the Bhumi Pujan in mere words. Rithambara is elated about the resurgence of self-respect for Indian culture that has come to the fore after nearly 500 years of struggle and shared that she is brimming with pride and boundless joy.

Asked how she got involved with the Ram temple movement, she said, “The attempt by foreign invaders to destroy our culture made me angry and I joined the movement. However, my role in this movement remained small just like a squirrel. Though I was involved in the movement with utmost devotion, Ram Lalla took me towards Ayodhya and I took a resolute stand by the banks of the sacred Saryu river. I spent my youth for Ram Janmabhoomi and the Hindu culture only with the blessings of Lord Ram. I was groomed under the able leadership of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader the late Ashok Singhal.”

Responding to a question, the Sadhvi said, “When the Ram temple movement was at its peak, there were various obstacles in the way. I spent most of my time in jungles, caves and among beggars. People were scared of sheltering us in their homes. We suffered a lot when we were struggling underground. But all the pain is forgotten on the achievement of our objective to build the Ram temple.”

Rithambara said during the Ram temple movement her speeches were recorded secretly. At that time there was such enthusiasm among the people that the Ram Mandir movement became a mass movement, it was not because of any institution or organisation and now the outcome will be witnessed on August 5.

When asked about L K Advani and M M Joshi who have now taken a back seat, Rithambara said, “They lit the spark to carry the movement forward.”

On the question of women being excluded from the Temple Trust, she said it is immaterial. “The Lord wanted us to get it done. There is no gender distinction here. The temple of God is being built, that’s what matters.”

On the question of the ‘mahurat’, she said Lord Ram’s work is always auspicious. Ramji himself has chosen his ‘mahurat’. The whole world is pleased with the construction of Lord Ram’s temple. Festivities are taking place in every house.

On the alleged caste discrimination, the Sadhvi dismissed it as a figment of the imagination, saying that a seer has no caste. A limited number of people have been invited for the Bhumi Pujan due to the corona pandemic, so it should not be taken otherwise, she added.

In response to another question, she said she did not know who all were invited. Those who are not able to be at the Bhumi Pujan, can go there any time as per their convenience.

On a Pakistani minister’s acerbic reaction to the Bhumi Pujan, she said that Pakistan should respect the sentiments of crores of Indians. This will promote harmony.

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People behind the Ayodhya movement: Known and unknown




Babri Demolition

Ayodhya, Aug 4 : The movement for a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya over the years has seen many key players from time to time carrying forward the campaign. The known faces are the one that have received their share of fame and publicity but there are some who remain in the realms of oblivion.

One of the initiators of the temple movement was Mahant Raghubar Das who filed a petition in the Faizabad Court for permission to build a Ram temple adjacent to the Babri mosque.

Several saints in Ayodhya still give credit to Mahant Raghubar Das for initiating the legal battle that is culminating in the construction of the Ram temple. However, there are many who prefer that he remains unhonoured and unsung.

Then there was Gopal Singh Visharad who filed the first case on the temple dispute in Independent India in 1950.

Visharad was a resident of Balrampur district and the head of the Hindu Mahasabha in the district. He had been stopped by the police from going to the Ram Janmabhoomi and he submitted a petition seeking unhindered access to Hindus to the Janambhoomi.

K.K. Nair, a 1930 batch IAS officer, was district magistrate of Faizabad when the idol of Ram Lalla was placed in the disputed complex on the night of December 23, 1949.

Nair refused to get the idol removed even though he was asked to do so by the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Govind Ballabh Pant. Nair had told his political bosses that they would have to remove him before the idol could be removed.

A resident of Alleppey in Kerala, Nair opted for voluntary retirement in 1952 and was elected to the fourth Lok Sabha in 1967 from Bahraich on a Jan Sangh ticket. His wife, Shankuntala Nair was also elected twice from Kaiserganj Lok Sabha seat.

In 1949, Mahant Digvijay Nath, the chief priest of the Goraksh temple in Gorakhpur led the temple movement after the idol was placed in the disputed complex. The Mahant brought all saints and seers on one platform and drafted the blueprint for the movement which later spread across the country.

After his demise in 1969, his successor Mahant Avaidyanath played an important role in the temple movement. Mahant Avaidyanath’s successor is present Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who has also played a proactive role in the temple movement.

Then there are commoners, forgotten face of the Ayodhya movement. One such is ‘kar sevak’ Suresh Baghel, a resident of Vrindavan in Mathura. He made the first attempt to bring down the Babri mosque and faced police action, courted arrest and made several rounds of courts.

Baghel, who now works in a private company on a salary of Rs 6,000 per month, refuses to even talk on the temple issue. “Now no one remembers me and I remember nothing. Please leave me alone,” he said when attempts were made to contact him.

In the 1990s when the temple movement gained momentum, leading to the demolition of the Babri mosque, the then VHP leader Ashok Singhal became the chief architect of Hindutva.

His slogan “Ek dhakka aur do, babri masjid tod do”, created a frenzy and mobilised Hindus like never before. Singhal passed away in 2015 and did not live to see the Ram temple being constructed.

Parveen Togadia, then a senior VHP leader, was also known for his proactive role in the temple movement. He lost his clout after the demise of Ashok Singhal.

L.K. Advani and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, then top BJP leaders, also played key role in the temple movement, giving it the much-needed political push with their party.

The BJP’s rise in India politics is directly linked to the temple movement and the role played by these two leaders.

Vinay Katiyar, a firebrand Hindu leader, was also the founder of the Bajrang Dal that gave a cutting edge to the temple movement. Katiyar went on to become a three-term MP from Ayodhya but later slid into political oblivion.

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh was another important player in the temple movement. He was UP chief minister when the Babri mosque was demolished and his government was dismissed the same day. Kalyan Singh was convicted for contempt of court because he had promised to protect the mosque.

Uma Bharti and Sadhvi Rithambhara led the women brigade in the temple movement. Both were known for their fiery speeches. Cassettes of Rithambhara’s fiery speeches were sold at a premium in the market and were enough to ignite communal violence.

Talking to IANS, a senior saint of Ayodhya who did not wish to be named, said, ‘All these people have contributed to the temple movement which has reached a stage where the temple construction is beginning. I feel we should have made it a point to invite all those who are still alive and should have felicitated them.”

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Ayodhya’s Lord Ram is Orchha’s Ram Raja

Orchha’s Ram Raja temple will also be decorated in a grand manner on the occasion of the ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ in Ayodhya.




Ram Raja temple MP

Niwari/Bhopal, Aug 3 : As Ayodhya is ushering in a new era with the ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ for the Ram temple, about 500 km away in Madhya Pradesh’s Orchha, home to the Ram Raja temple, enthusiasm is quite discernible. The Ram Raja temple will be specially decorated on August 5, the day of the ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ in Ayodhya.

It is believed that Lord Ram was enthroned here not as a God but as a King.

Orchha, also known as the ‘Ayodhya of Bundelkhand’, is a city with a 600-year-old relationship with Ayodhya. Lord Ram is given a salute by the policemen during the ‘aarti’ performed four times a day. It is said that the devotees do not see the idol of Ram with their eyes but only seek his blessings by touching his feet. ‘Paan’ (betel leaves) along with a perfumed wick is offered to the devotees as ‘prasad’.

Ancient documents reveal that King Madhukar Shah of the Orchha dynasty was a Krishna devotee and his wife Ganesh Kunwar was a Ram devotee. Arguments followed between the two regarding their devotion. When Madhukar Shah asked his queen to go to Vrindavan, she spoke about going to Ayodhya. The king sarcastically replied, “If your Ram really exists then bring him to Orchha from Ayodhya.”

It is said that Ganesh Kunwar went to Ayodhya from Orchha and meditated for 21 days, but when Ram did not appear she was disappointed and jumped into the Sarayu river where Ram was seen in her lap.

Ganesh Kunwar then urged Lord Ram to visit Orchha. Lord Ram placed three conditions before her — I will be enthroned as a king in Orchha, where once I sit down, I will not get up from there and will only go to Orchha on foot on an auspicious day. The queen accepted all three conditions laid down by Lord Ram.

Local expert Pandit Jagdish Tiwari says according to the legend, the construction of the grand temple was going on when Ganesh Kunwar reached Orchha from Ayodhya with Lord Ram. The queen placed Ram in the kitchen from where he did not get up, as laid down in the three conditions.

The kitchen premises were then converted into a temple. This is the place where Lord Ram is the king that is why no leader, minister or official comes into the four-walled area of Orchha in a vehicle. Only Lord Ram is given a salute here.

Tiwari says during the day Lord Ram stays here but goes to Ayodhya to sleep. That is why it is said that “Lord Ram has two special residences — in the day he resides in Orchha and in the night in Ayodhya.”

Orchha’s Ram Raja temple will also be decorated in a grand manner on the occasion of the ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ in Ayodhya.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “Ram Raja ki Jai! Shri Ram Raja resides in Orchha, he is the king of the state. On August 4 and 5, Ram Raja temple will be specially decorated and special puja will be performed by the priests. To ensure the corona infection does not spread all residents in Orchha have been urged to stay at home and worship Ram Raja by lighting a small lamp on the pious occasion.”

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