In line with the RSS strategy to reach out to Dalits, BJP president Amit Shah took a holy dip at Kshipra river on the occasion of Simhastha Kumbh mela
With an eye on upcoming UP Assembly polls in 2017, the BJP has been striving to reach out to Dalits. The earlier plan was Shah would march 1.5 km from Valmiki Dham to Ramghat along with Dalit saints and then take a dip at Ramghat along the banks of Kshipra river.
This was changed at the last minute after the RSS and some saints expressed doubts. The ghat was changed to the Valmiki Ghat, where saints including some belonging to the Dalit community, joined him.
Shah devoted six hours in the city, where besides the 10-minute “samrastha snan (social harmony bath)”, he addressed saints and others at the Valmiki Dham and also had “samrastha bhoj (social harmony feast)”.
The BJP’s efforts to woo Dalits was seen by some as an attempt to bring politics into a religious-cultural event. According to samrastha snan’s organisers, the sadhus had misunderstood the concept initially.
The Dwarka-Sharda and Jyotish Peeth’s Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati and Akhil Bharatiya Akahara Parishad president Narendra Giri were reported to have said that sadhus have no caste and so could take a dip during the Kumbh.
Shah after taking blessings of the saints, said “BJP is the a party which believes in spreading India’s culture and fosters the feeling of world as one abode, one family (Vasudevkutumbhkam).” Shah said with this dip he would complete all four Kumbhs – Haridwar, Nasik, Allahabad and Ujjain.