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Swaminarayan temple in Vadtal openly backs BJP, appeals to devotees to vote for ‘Modi’

The head priest of the temple hailed the BJP-led state government and appealed the devotees to vote for the BJP-led state government as the organisation is "forever indebted" to the incumbent state government.

By: Express News Service | Vadodara | Updated: November 5, 2017 12:00 am
Swaminarayan temple, BJP, narendra Modi, gujarat, gujarat assembly elections, The event was attended by about 1700 priests from across Gujarat, where Ghanshyam Maharaj hailed Rupani and said that the organisation was “forever indebted” to the BJP-led government for having stood by it for over 15 years. File PTI Photo

Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the silver jubilee celebrations of the Akshardham Teample in Ahmedabad, a religious event was held to mark the auspicious Kartik Poornima on Saturday at the Swaminarayan temple in Vadtal near Nadiad in Kheda district, in presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and other BJP leaders. The head priest of the temple hailed the BJP-led state government and appealed the devotees to vote for the BJP-led state government as the organisation is “forever indebted” to the incumbent state government.

At the event in the Vadtal Swaminarayan temple, which belongs to the Lakshmi Narayan Dev diocese of the sect, headed by acting-Acharya Rakesh Prasad Maharaj, the Mukhya Kothari (Chief Administrator) of the temple, Maharaj Ghanshyam Prasad Das made a fervent appeal to the devotees of the sect to vote the BJP government into power in the state. The event was attended by about 1700 priests from across Gujarat, where Ghanshyam Maharaj hailed Rupani and said that the organisation was “forever indebted” to the BJP-led government for having stood by it for over 15 years.

Refering to the preceding speech made by Acharya Rakesh Prasad, Maharaj Ghanshyam said, “Swamiji has told us about the history and work of the ​Vadtal organisation as well as the help it has received over the years from this government. This Vadtal organisation will forever be indebted to this government. This means we have to pay back this debt.”

“Right now, we have tied a safa (headgear) to Rupani saheb, but that does not pay for our debt. To pay for our debt we have to do a lot more. I want to make this certain and definite appeal to all the devotees who are sitting here, watching through the internet or TV. It is the fortune of the people to have a king who is pure, people-loving and a visionary… We have such a king. It is Narendra Modi.”

The Maharaj went on to say, “I never pray for myself (to God), but when I recite my prayers on the holy beads, each day of the 365 days of a year, I pray for the success of two people Acharya Rakesh Maharaj and Narendra Modiji… Narendra Modi should win. It is my appeal to all the devotees of the Swaminarayan sect–for 15 years, this government has gone out of its way to help us, stood by the Vadtal organisation, assisted in all things big and small. Remember, it is a truth-loving government. It is a corruption-free government. It has served Vadtal individually, as much as it has served the entire state.”

Also present were Cabinet Minister Nanu Vanani, Rohit Patel, MP Devusinh Chauhan, Gujarat Assembly Whip Pankaj Desai and Anand District BJP President Mahesh Patel. At the venue Rupani, who also delivered a short address, said, “The Model Code of Conduct is in place and therefore, I shall not say much about the government. But, I must say that I visit Vadtal whenever I can. It gives me immense inspiration to be here.”

Later, in a press note, the BJP stated that the priests of the eight Hindu holy pilgrimage places of Gujarat had backed the party’s ‘vijayrath’ for the upcoming polls due to its “development works” including the development of the eight holy shrines. Stating that “to preserve the culture of India, huge temples must be built”, the BJP statement quoted Rupani as saying, “Being in power in government a government is an instrument to serve (people). Since people look at this through the political lens, Prime Minister Narendra Modiji has said that I am not the Prime Minister, but the Pradhan Sevak. Similarly, I also state that I am not the King of Gujarat but a servant of Gujarat.”

When contacted District Election Officer, Kheda, Kuldeep Arya said, “An event at a religious institution, where a person belonging to the religious institution speaks about a political party or makes an appeal to the people does not amount to violation of the Model Code of Conduct, prima facie. The rule states that if the place of religious worship is used by a political party for campaigning or putting up banners or symbols that amount to campaigning, then it would be a violation of the Code. The appeal made by the priest in his personal capacity is not a breach. However, we have videographed the event and we shall refer it to the Chief Election Officer for advise and further action.”

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  1. Rabindra Nath Roy
    Nov 10, 2017 at 4:34 pm
    The sect has gone spiritually bankrupt and the head priest has understood that unless a desperate call is made to its disciples ie mostly Patel Community which is now known as Patidar and it is Hardik Patel who is doing all to defeat Modi in upcoming Poll in Gujrat, Modi is sure to lose Gujrat. The same priest did not give any call to the Govt. when Una lynching was taken place, the Priest did not work for even asking Govt. to allow them the same SHMASHAN to Dalits to burn and have last rites, the same organisation did not work for people who committed suicide and those who are now suffering due to GST and demonitisation. The organisation is not meant to uplift spiritually the Gujratis or for lthat matter the human beings all over the world at large but for Modi and Modi and Modi. It has mortguaged itself to an Individual who is a Political man and has done immense damage to the nation. People who are disciple of the sect must condemn this call since it is a political call.
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    1. S
      Sam
      Nov 6, 2017 at 12:01 am
      Organized religion politics big business, something sinister about this Nexus. Others cannot even dream of entering this fortress!
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      1. C
        CBA
        Nov 5, 2017 at 11:13 pm
        If Dehli Jame Masjid Imam can call for Muslims to vote for Khangrss, why not the Priest of Swamynarayan temple can call to Hindus to vote for BJP. We have not forgotten those call by Imam whose son also married a Hindu girl recently. I am really astonished for the remarks of sickulars, stupid ethists and stupid medias to bring out the news to the Public. Temples have no right but Mosques have the right in India. These sickulars also sent Muslims for pilgrimage in free package by the taxpayers hard earned money of India. What a joke for Indian democracy of siculars for last 70 years! Amazing and really amazing India. Whole India is full of hypocrites.
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        1. Farzana Cooper
          Nov 6, 2017 at 1:36 pm
          So BJP has been doing the same that it accuses Congress and others. You are ok with it. That means you accept BJP is another Congress. And BJP treats you as a Vote Bank. You vote for Hindu Appea ts. Good.
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          1. Rabindra Nath Roy
            Nov 10, 2017 at 4:25 pm
            So, if Congress has done that why not Modi does this. It is just like Congress. Modi is emulating Congress since he has no other way to win. Head Priest has been on record that for 15 tyears the Gujrat Govt. that is full tenure of Modi has gone out of its way to help in all things. The head Priest is divorced of spirituality and is as if he and his organisation will be rendered orphan.
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          2. Krishnamurthy Venkataraman
            Nov 5, 2017 at 9:49 am
            During the Delhi Assembly elections and the Lok Sabha Elections, Arvind Kejriwal of AAP and Sonia Gandhi of INC made a beeline to the Shahi Imam of Jumma Masjid to request his support and he openly did. If action cannot be taken for that , it cannot be taken in this case too.
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            1. Atul Kumar
              Nov 6, 2017 at 5:59 pm
              AAP did a PC refused to take support , While Modi himself goes to Ram Rahim to beg for support in haryana
              (0)(0)
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              Nov 5, 2017 at 8:20 am
              for money urgently, We need only, We are ready to pay 2 Cr for one kidney, Contact us today on Email: or call 917-507-435-483
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