In yet another attempt to appease followers of Sant Ravidas on the occasion of the 17th century poet’s jayanti which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will address a gathering of Dalits, local BJP leaders in Varanasi have decided to polish the shoes of followers who will be on way to the temple to attend the programme on February 22.
In a meeting held Tuesday, the BJP formed a two-member committee to make preparations for the shoe-polish initiative. Leaders said the idea is to send a message to people that the BJP “believes in the ideologies of Ravidas” who belonged to a family of cobblers.
The shoe-polish programme will be part of the three-day ‘Ravidas Antyoday Utsav’ which the party will celebrate at a school campus near Ravidas temple from February 19 to 21. BJP’s Kashi region convener for ‘Friends of BJP’ cell Dhairya Vardhan Singh has been made the Utsav’s in-charge.
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On February 20, Ravidas Sandhya will be organised in which students of Banaras Hindu University will recite bhajans. During this two-hour recital programme, BJP leaders, clad in saffron scarf, will sit by the road outside the school premises to polish shoes of the followers (called Raidasis) on way to the temple. The service will be “free of cost”, a leader said.
The PM’s proposed visit to the temple has been facing a slew of protests by students and teachers of Banaras Hindu University.