The head priest of the Somnath temple, one of the holiest sites for Hindus, follows a unique ritual that’s not just confined to his spiritual duties that he offers to lakhs of devotees on a daily basis but directed at political ends. At the centre of his ritual is the trinity of Modi-Yogi-Shah.”For the last ten years, before anything else my fellow priest and I have prayed for the well being of Narendra Modi, Yogi Adityanath and Amit Shah,” said Vijay Bhatt.
It must be noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the chairman, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah is a trustee of the temple.
As a priest Bhatt also seemed extremely worried about the state of affairs with the youth of the country. Shaken by the Shraddha murder case in which Aaftab Poonawala killed his live-in partner and chopped her body into 35 pieces, Bhatt demanded swift justice against such brutality. “Such criminals should be hanged and the time of delivery of justice should not be any more than seven days,” he said.
He also feels that such cases are a result of children growing distant from their parents and Indians compromising on their family values. “Youngsters who are close to their family, will not take wrong steps in their life,” he said.
An RSS worker, Bhat doesn’t mask his absolute support for the BJP dispensation. “Of course, I want the BJP to come back,” he told The New Indian team.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the temple a week back to kickstart his Saurashtra campaign. The Somnath temple is located along the coastline in Prabhas Patan near Veraval, Saurashtra region of Gujarat.
Saurashtra region, which accounts for 48 out of the total 182 Assembly seats in the state has a considerable Patidar and Other Backward Class (OBC) presence. In the 2017 Assembly polls, the Congress had bagged 28 seats in this region and BJP 19 seats largely due the Patidar agitation.
Last election Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had courted a major controversy post his visit to the Shiva jyotirlinga. He was registered as a “non-Hindu” visitor in the temple’s register – something the Congress claimed to be politically motivated.
Eyeing Hindu votes, Kejriwal had visited the temple in July this year
Bhatt is not impressed by the temple appearances of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi or Delhi CM and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal.
“Many politicians come here and ask for many things. I do not have any idea about what they seek, but I only pray to God, only those who will work towards the protection and propagation of Sanatan Dharma should be given power,” he said, making much ado about where he stands politically.
Bhatt heavily criticized Aam Aadmi Party’s freebie offer as a poll promise. “No political party should offer freebies. It is a bad practice. You look at the beggars outside this temple. They get two square meals free of cost. Will they contribute to the progress of the country? The honest tax-paying citizens of this country will not be fooled by such promises. They don’t want things for free.”
The Somnath temple, also called Deo Patan, is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus and is believed to be first among the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. The temple was reconstructed several times in the past after repeated destruction by multiple Muslim invaders and rulers, notably starting from an attack by Mahmud Ghazni in the 11th century.