TV Tale of Two ‘Suicides’: Of Mahant Narendra Giri and Sushant Singh Rajput

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Mahant Narendra Giri and Sushant Singh Rajput

The death has come at a politically inappropriate time for BJP, which may not be able to launch a full-throated campaign on the construction of Ram Mandir

Soroor Ahmed | Clarion India

THOSE television channels which worked overtime for over 100 days to give a new twist to the ‘suicide’ by actor Sushant Singh Rajput on June 14, have now been caught on the wrong foot after the mysterious death of the president of All India Akhara Parishad, Mahant Narendra Giri on September 20 last.

As the incident has come less than five months before the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election it has poured cold water on all the poll-related planning of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The saffron party may lose precious time in coming out of this big crisis as the Mahant was somebody who was considered too close to all the top brass of the BJP — from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Home Minister Amit Shah to Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath. He was among the selected few who were invited at the foundation laying ceremony of Ram Mandir by the Prime Minister on August 5, 2020. Thus, the political significance of his death cannot be overlooked.

Since the three accused of abetting the ‘suicide’ are none else but close disciples of the late Mahant, they too appear to have right connection with the powers that be. The mudslinging has started within and the whole episode has become murkier because of obvious reasons. Thus, the saffron camp and its war-machine in TV studios are fumbling for words to explain the whole scenario.

Last year they tried their level best to make a mountain out of molehill of the ‘suicide’ of Sushant Singh Rajput as the Bihar Assembly election was due in October-November. The truth was that there was absolutely no political angle in the death of Rajput. The maximum one can say about the late actor is that he was a cousin of the Bihar BJP legislator, Neeraj Kumar Singh Bablu and had roots in the state.

Curiously, Bablu became a minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet after the election — may be a beneficiary of the media coverage he too got during those pre-poll days.

But perhaps the greatest loser was the then director general of police, Bihar, Gupteshwar Pandey, who, while appearing in different TV channels, tried to give another twist to this whole episode. He thought that his political masters would reward him and thus took pre-mature retirement in the last week of September 2020 and immediately joined the ruling Janata Dal-United of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with the hope that he would get the party ticket for the Assembly poll.

However, it was none else but the BJP which jeopardised his prospect by staking claim over Buxar seat, his home constituency from where he wanted to contest.
Today he is a butt of joke in the political circle as he lost his job as well as did not get the ticket.

In contrast, Mahant Narendra Giri died not in distant Mumbai, but in Prayag Raj, a city known for religious significance in Uttar Pradesh. Mind it, it was in the confluence of rivers Ganga and Jamuna here that thousands of bodies were buried in the high time of corona virus as the family members could not consign them to flames.

In Narendra Giri’s mysterious end the opposition had got enough ammunition to fire at the state government as the Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had come to meet him just a day before, that is on September 19. How is it that he had got no hint of what is going to happen? If the late Mahant was really under threat why did not he share it with the top leaders of the ruling party? Or has Maurya’s visit something to do with this development?

These are the questions doing the rounds within the political circles. There is a deafening silence within the Parivar and the rank and file can just be heard murmuring on the issue. They are fully aware that the death has come at a politically inappropriate time for the party, which may not be able to launch a full-throated campaign on the construction of Ram Mandir — often a poll issue for the BJP.

As there may be several skins to be saved the party has certainly lost the moral high ground just ahead of the crucial election. The Yogi government has, of late, lost much of its support base after its disastrous performance during the pandemic. The central leadership was even planning to get rid of him. It is other thing that the RSS swung into action and bailed Yogi Adityanath out as he is considered as a future asset for the BJP. He is more than 20 years younger than Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has an all-India appeal. Besides, as a Yogi he enjoys a special place in the Hindu society.

Ironically, since July 15 visit to his parliamentary constituency, Banaras, Narendra Modi had started showering praise on Yogi. But the BJP has certainly been deprived of the opportunity to go on offensive during the campaign as the party fears that some skeletons may fall out after the death of Mahant Narendra Giri. If any such thing happens the BJP would be in an embarrassing position in the run-up
to the poll.

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