UP 2022 polls in mind, parties useRavidas Jayanti for Dalit outreach
Varanasi: Ahead of the state assembly polls due next year, the 644th birth anniversary celebration of 14th century mystic poet-saint, Sant Ravidas, is going to witness vigorous Dalit outreach programmes by various political parties.
Despite no invitation from Shri Guru Ravidas Janmasthal Charitable Trust (GRJCT) to any politician or celebrity in view of Covid-19 protocol, the arrival of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at Ravidas temple to bow head on Saturday has been confirmed so far.
The temple at the birthplace of Sant Ravidas in Seer Goverdhanpur of Varanasi had become politically significant after the visit of then chief minister Mayawati in 2008. Later, many top politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the temple and also attended Ravidas Jayanti celebrations.
The three-day birth anniversary celebration started with the arrival of trust’s chairman and head of All India Ravidasiya Dharm Sant Niranjan Das on Thursday while the main function will be held on Saturday.
GRJCT’s Kishanlal Saroa said, “The religious recitals and other activities of Ravidas Jayanti celebration have begun.”
Saroa said, “The trust had decided to avoid huge gatherings like past years due to Covid and so gathering of thousands of followers from across the country and abroad was cancelled. We also decided not to invite any politician or celebrity due to same reasons.”
On reports of visit of some political figures, Saroa said the temple is open to all.
The itinerary of three-day east UP visit of SP chief shows he will reach Varanasi on Saturday morning and take part in Ravidas Jayanti celebration by visiting Ravidas temple at 11am, said former minister Manoj Rai Dhoopchandi. This will be Akhilesh’s first visit to Ravidas temple.
The arrival of Priyanka was also confirmed by senior Congress leader Ajay Rai. The party also convened a meeting for preparations of Priyanka’s visit, said Congress city president Raghvendra Chaubey.
Priyanka will be taking part in Ravidas Jayanti celebration for the second consecutive year as she had attended it in 2020 also.
Saint Ravidas has a huge following across the globe, but Dalits from UP and Punjab form the majority.
The temple and annual event started drawing politicians after Mayawati attended Ravidas Jayanti celebration as CM in 2008 and gifted a golden palanquin.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attended Ravidas Jayanti celebration in February 2016 when he shared dais with Sant Niranjan Das and addressed the gathering after offering prayers. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had also visited the temple.
On February 19, 2019 Modi had again attended Ravidas Jayanti celebrations on the invitation of GRJCT.
CM Yogi Adityanath had also attended Ravidas Jayanti in 2018 after which a project for development of Sant’s birthplace was announced.
Courtesy : TNN