By Azra Ali

In the last few years, the entry of saints and sages into politics is increasing. Since most of the people have a deep connection with religious sentiments. In such a situation, political parties have been giving tickets to saints and sages. This time too,  sages and saints are in demand and popularity in the Rajasthan elections. Rajasthan Assembly elections 2023 for 200 constituencies are set to take place from 25 November.

Saffron color has started rising in Rajasthan assembly elections. Although BJP considers the first right on saffron, but this time Congress is also not behind. While the party has fielded sages and saints in the election field, Congress is also trying to bring some faces from the saint community into its fold. Along with BJP, Congress candidates are also starting their election campaign from temples and they are trying their best to appear Hindu among the voters.

Religious leaders as BJP candidates

To return to power in Rajasthan, BJP is busy laying the political chessboard of ‘Hindutva’. BJP is leaving no stone unturned not only in the assembly election campaign but also in setting the agenda of aggressive Hindutva. BJP has so far announced the names of 184 candidates in the assembly elections, in which tickets have been given to mahants, saints and bhajan singers associated with temples and monasteries. BJP has played the game of ‘Hindutva’ by making Mahants and Saints as candidates on Muslim dominated seats.

In Rajasthan, both Congress and BJP are busy giving tickets to saints. BJP has so far announced to give tickets Mahant Balakanth, Otram Dewasi and Mahant Pratap Puri. Congress has given ticket to Muslim religious leader Saleh Mohammad.

Mahant Balaknath

Imran vs Balaknath

BJP has given ticket to Alwar MP Baba Balaknath Yogi from Tijara assembly seat. Balaknath is called Yogi Adityanath of Rajasthan. UP CM Yogi had also attended Balaknath’s nomination. Just as Yogi Adityanath is the Mahant of Gorakhnath Peeth, similarly Balaknath is also the Mahant of Mastnath Math. Both the leaders are associated with the same Nath sect. Balaknath was elected MP from Alwar seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and now BJP has fielded him from Tijara seat, which falls in the Mewat region of Rajasthan.

Tijara seat is counted among the Muslim dominated seats, due to which Congress has made Mewati Imran Khan its candidate. There is a significant number of votes from Yadav, Gurjar, Muslim and SC-ST communities here. In such a situation, BJP has played the Hindutva game by giving ticket to Balaknath while Congress has played the Muslim card, due to which the contest can be very interesting and the noise of Hindutva politics has also started being heard.

 

Saale Mohammad vs Mahant Pratap Puri

On Pokhran assembly seat, BJP has once again placed its bet on Mahant Pratap Puri of Taratara Math. In Barmer region of Rajasthan, he is compared with UP CM Yogi Adityanath. Mahant Pratap Puri remains vocal on Hindutva issues and has opened a front on Love Jihad. Not only this, a group of Hindu youth has been formed. On this seat, he is competing with Congress’s brother-in-law Mohammad, who is the son of a Muslim religious leader. The brother-in-law’s father is considered to be Ghazi Fakir, who is considered to have a strong hold.

Balmukund Acharya

Balmukund Acharya

BJP has made Balmukund Acharya its candidate from Hawamahal assembly seat of Jaipur. Hawamahal seat has a large number of Muslim voters. In 2018, Congress had won through the political equation of Brahmin and Muslim votes and Mahesh Joshi became MLA. This time, playing the game of Hindutva, BJP has fielded Mahant Balmukund Acharya of Balaji Hathoj Dham on this seat. He is running a movement in the name of protecting Hindu religion. Bal Mukand Acharya Maharaj is the head of All India Sant Samaj in Rajasthan. Balmukund has been raising the issue of migration of Hindus in Parkota area. In such a situation, BJP has played the gamble of Hindutva by fielding him on Muslim dominated Hawamahal seat.

Rajasthan Election Result 2018 live: गायों की सेवा नहीं आई काम, राजस्थान के  गाय मंत्री ओटाराम हारे – News18 हिंदी

Otram Dewasi

Otram Dewasi

In Rajasthan, BJP has once again nominated Otram Dewasi, who is a devotee of Chamunda Mata, as its candidate for the Sirohi assembly seat known as Devbhoomi. Otram Dewasi, who comes from Rebari community, had lost the elections last time, but before that he had been MLA twice.

 

Prakash Mali

Bhajan singer Prakash Mali

Famous bhajan singer Prakash Mali has been nominated by BJP as its candidate from Pachpadara assembly seat. He has his own identity as a bhajan singer in Rajasthan, to cash in on which BJP has fielded him. Prakash Mali comes from the same caste as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. In such a situation, by fielding him in the elections, BJP is not only making a bet on Hindutva but also making a bet on the OBC votes of Congress. Congress has fielded Madan Prajapati on Pachamdara seat.

Congress also playing the saffron card

Along with BJP, Congress candidates are also starting their election campaign from temples and they are trying their best to appear Hindu among the voters.

Congress is also not behind in raising the saffron flag. Congress has included Sadhvi Anadi, who was trying for ticket from BJP, in the party.

Recently, former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot offered prayers at Bhuteshwar Mahadev Temple before his nomination. Similarly, many more candidates are going to file nomination by wearing saffron patta. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have visited temples in Rajasthan.

Religion has always influenced politics in India and has been one major issue in all electoral campaigns. The visible representation of religious heads at the inauguration of the new Parliament building and in various states’ legislative assemblies is a clear indication of the changing political landscape in India.

 

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