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State leadership of BJP has been kept away from the annual pilgrimage at Sivagiri mutt, the supreme spiritual centre of Hindu Ezhava community, even as the party has been trying to emerge as the rallying point of the community.
The annual pilgrimage at the mutt would begin in the last week of this month. Although the mutt management has invited state and central leaders of Congress and CPI (M) belonging to non-Hindu communities, not a single state-level BJP leader has figured in the list of the invitees.
The mutt has also not invited Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan, who has recently announced a new political party for the Ezhava community. The only invitee from BJP is union minister Mahesh Sharma. The Sivagiri mutt leadership has also downplayed the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the mutt on December 15.
BJP sources said the mutt leadership is divided over its attitude towards Natesan and his political party. This has reflected in their approach towards BJP. However, we would try to bridge the gap between BJP and the spiritual centre of the Ezhava community. We would try to take the mutt into confidence, ’’ BJP sources said.
Party sources said they had tried to get Modi for the pilgrimage. As the Prime Minister was not available for that function , we decided to club his next week’s Kerala visit with the mutt, where he would spend half an hour.
Sivagri mutt general secretary Swami Rithambarananda said the BJP state leadership was cool to their request to invite central leaders for the function. “As we did not hear from the BJP until the end of November, the mutt decided to go with the pilgrimage functions with leaders who had confirmed their participation. Union minister Mashen Sharma was invited directly,’’ he said.
The mutt leadership also made open its opposition to Natesan forming a political party. “It was improper for a person in the leadership of SNDP Yogam to float a new. Yogam has representatives from all parties,’’ he said.