BJP planning Rashtriya Raksha Yagna next to Red Fort to secure victory in 2019 Lok Sabha election

Bungalow No. 15 on Mahadeo Road, in close proximity to the Parliament House, has recently become a place of much discussion in political circles. On this Lutyens’ Delhi road stands a house allotted to Mahesh Giri, BJP MP from East Delhi. In here, one can get a sense of the contours of the master plan for a Narendra Modi victory in the 2019 elections. A large banner and a projection system invoking all to ‘take a pledge, make a commitment (Aao ek sankalp lein, aao ek aahuti dein)’ is unmissable.

The projector shows a video of a yagna or a collective Hindu prayer around a ceremonial fire, being performed by sadhus in large-sized mandaps at various locations. Aao ek sankalp lein, aao ek aahuti dein is the slogan for the mahayagna being planned in the grounds adjacent to the Red Fort from 18-25 March, sources close to Giri said. Inside his house, a pandal has been installed with almost 200 chairs to seat visitors who will be given tea and snacks.

The pandal confirms the mahayagna (which is being caled the rashtriya raksha yagya) rumours at Giri's residence, who happens to be a disciple of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living. This event, particularly the choice of venue (next to the Red Fort), is already causing much consternation and has the potential to develop in to a full blown political debate.

BJP MP Mahesh Giri's home in Delhi's Lutyens. Image/Firstpost Hindi

BJP MP Mahesh Giri's home in Delhi's Lutyens. Image/Firstpost Hindi

The Red Fort is intrinsic to national heritage. The monument was the seat of the Mughal Empire for nearly 200 years. The coronation of Bahadur Shah Zafar, last Mughal emperor, was held here in 1837. It then went to the British, and became an important address for barracks and offices of the Raj. It is from its ramparts that Prime Ministers have addressed the nation on the 15th of August.

The idea that such a location can be the possible venue for a ‘Rashtriya Raksha Yagya’ might ruffle feathers. There is, however, no official confirmation for the proposed event.

When approached by Firstpost, Giri confirmed that he had no information to give at this stage but said that a curtain raiser will be held on 22 January during which the media would be briefed on all aspects of the proposed event, including the guest list and whether the Archaeological Survey of India will grant permission for such an event so close to the monument. The press conference will be held from 18-25 March, 2018.

Interestingly, there already exists a strict check on media entering Giri's residence. In case, media persons reach him home, his supporters strongly urge them not to shoot any photos or videos of the pandal. Even though nobody wanted to go on record, the murmurs in the pandal seem to suggest that the purpose of the yagna is to come up with a 2019 electoral master plan.

Sources went on to speculate that Modi might inaugurate the yagna, but quickly added that the prime minister hasn't committed to anything yet. Sources also indicated that President Ram Nath Kovind might bring the ceremony to a close and that BJP chief Amit Shah will be present at the ceremony too. The biggies aside, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, Union Ministers, parliamentarians and Hindu religious leaders are expected at the ceremony.

Even though there is no confirmation, it seems that the BJP, which holds power in 19 states, still wants to ensure that nothing comes in the way of its victory in 2019.

This article was first published on Firstpost Hindi. Click here to read the original article

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Updated Date: Jan 11, 2018 15:36:02 IST

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