Chronicle Reporter, Bhopal
Newly appointed Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath visited the Gufa Mandir on Wednesday. Nath began his new innings as Congress state president by visiting temples and seeking blessings of the deities.
Setting the tone for the election campaign in Madhya Pradesh, the state Congress committee chief Kamal Nath played manjira at the Gufa Mandir as he recited kirtan, a trait chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan seems to have mastered over the last 13 years in Madhya Pradesh, as he cultivated an image of being a man of the masses.
The veteran Congress leader offered prayers at the Gufa Mandir Hanumana temple. Congress party leaders and workers organised a Sundarkand Path from 9am inside the temple which was attended by many district and state level leaders. Kamal Nath offered puja to Lord Hanumana amid chants of mantras of priests and shouts of “Jai Shri Ram” from Congress workers.
His forehead smeared with chandan tika, Nath also went around the famous Mahakal temple in Ujjain and Pitambara Peeth in Datia. He also performed puja of Lord Hanuman’s weapon, the gadaa. Nath performed the rituals with an aarti thali in hand while bhajan singers chanted, “Aarti kije Hanuman lala ki.”
After the “aarti”, Nath sat before the bhajan singers and clapped to the tune of a popular Hanumana hymns, “Duniya Chale nee Shri Ram ke Bina, Ramji Chale naa Hanuman ke bina.”
Other state Congress leaders followed suit. Later Nath left for Ujjain to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva at Mahakaleshwar temple. Nath also visited Datia and sought blessings at Bagulamukhi Shakipeeth.
BJP might be slamming Rahul Gandhi’s temple-run calling it “pseudo-Hinduism”, but fact is that at least in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has started chanting the name of Lord Ram more than the ruling BJP.
The party in Opposition for three terms is slowly and steadily encroaching into the BJP’s arena of sants, sadhus and the gods. It started here with the Congress winning Chitrakoot bypoll in November last year when the party in Opposition not only defeated the BJP candidate, but increased its winning margin by nearly 5,000 votes.
Chitrakoot is where Lord Rama is claimed to have spent 12 of his 14 years of exile. As newly elected Congress MLA from Chitrakoot seat Neelangshu Chaturvedi took oath of office, the Congress shouted, “Jai Shri Ram” –shocking the treasury benches and ruling party MLAs.