Within a few hours after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat landed in Varanasi and expressed dissatisfaction over the way the local BJP unit dealt with the issue of police lathicharge on saints, the BJP leaders in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday swung into action. They announced to court arrest if the police arrest saints on charges of violence and arson that took place during Anyay Pratikar Yatra that was taken out on October 5 in protest of the police lathicharge on saints in midnight of September 22.
Police had resorted to lathicharge when saints were staging dharna on a road near Godaulia crossing seeking permission to immerse Ganesh idol in the Ganga river. That idol belonged to Kashi Maratha Ganesh Utsav Samiti.
Sources said that Bhagwat was upset with BJP leaders for not handling the issue properly and allowing Congress leaders to take the lead in supporting saints despite the fact that Hindutva continues to be on agenda of the BJP. The police have arrested local Congress MLA Ajay Rai in the case for violence and arson and has been lodged in jail. Rai had contested the Lok Sabha election against Narendra Modi in Varanasi.
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Chakrawarti Vijay Nawad, convener of Kashi Maratha Ganesh Utsav Samiti too met RSS Kashi Prant Pracharak Abhay today and lodged a complaint that the BJP was not clearing its stand on the issue of saints and making no efforts to get the names of committee members and saints removed from the FIRs registered in connection with violence. Nawad had sought appointment to meet Bhagawat but he was asked to meet RSS prant pracharak.
“I told Abjay ji that BJP was doing nothing for saints and my committee members who have been named in FIR, despite the fact that BJP claims to be pro-Hindutva. I will try to meet Bhagwat ji again,” said Mawad who himself is named in an FIR.
Addressing mediapersons, the party’s regional unit president Laxman Acharya said that BJP was against lathicharge on saints, lodging of cases against them and misbehavior done by the administration with them.
“If the false cases were not removed, BJP will launch an agitation and court arrest if it will be required. BJP is standing in support of saints and party will not tolerate their insult,” Acharya said.
Ravindra Jaiswal, an MLA, said that the police, under the influence of Samajwadi Party, have lodged cases against those Akhil Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leaders who were probable candidate for upcoming students’ union elections in education institutions of Varanasi.
When asked about Bhagwat’s opinion on the entire issue, Acharya and Jaiswal both denied that Bhagwat expressed dissatisfaction over the BJP’s role in the matter. “Everybody knows that BJP MLAs and other office bearers had participated in Nyay Pratikar Yatra. BJP was in saints’ support since beginning. No Congress leader was present on the spot when the police had cane charged saints in midnight of September 22,” Jaiswal said.
Earlier in the day, BJP MLA Jyotsana Srivastava met Bhagwat at the RSS office. When asked, she denied any discussion on saints’ issue and called it a courtesy meet.
Bhagwat was in Varanasi to watch the traditional Ram Lila performed in Ram Nagar area. He will further go to Gorakhpur to hold meeting of RSS office bearers of eastern region that include Kashi, Gorakhpur, Awadh and Kanpur.