ANTICIPATING elections anytime in the Union Territory, political leaders from different parties of Jammu and Kashmir are making a beeline for an 11-day-long ‘Sarv Dharma Ati Maha Vishnu Yagna’ for “eternal peace of martyred police and security personnel” being held in Samba district.
On Saturday, Union Minister in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, who belongs to Jammu, and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah both dropped in for the prayers. Over hundred family members of police and security personnel killed in line of duty were present.
It was the 39th Ati Maha Vishnu Yagna organised by Sant Bal Yogeshwar Das Maharaj, and was being held after 18 years. The prayers, which started on January 26, are being held on the premises of Jagannath Temple at Budhwani. A total of 108 ‘havan kunds’ have been set up inside the sprawling complex.
Farooq, who was accompanied by NC Jammu province president Rattan Lal Gupta, called the yagna “the need of the hour”. “On hearing that prayers were being held for such a pious cause, I decided to attend,” he told mediapersons. The former CM said: “Guruji is doing a great job by organising such yagnas to lessen the pain of the families of martyrs.’’’
The NC leader said that Sant Bal Yogeshwar also listened to the problems of the aggrieved families and tried to help them, irrespective of religion, caste. “The government can provide financial help and support to the families, but their pain can only be addressed by religious leaders,” Farooq said, adding that the saint was also uniting all in grief, “and this unity in diversity is the biggest strength of India”.
As Farooq sat in a pandal outside the main prayer area, where entry was restricted to only those wearing yellow dhoti, Bal Yogeshwar Das himself came out to felicitate him. Union Minister Singh arrived after Farooq’s visit.
The BJP has been dropping hints of early polls, with the Election Commission having completed delimitation of Assembly constituencies in J&K. In the 90-member Legislative Assembly, Kashmir now has 47 seats and Jammu 43.
With the vote share fragmented in Kashmir, parties are counting on gathering support in Jammu to win the UT. In the 2014 Assembly polls, the BJP had swept the region, helping its rise to power for the first time in J&K.