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Chinmayanand Bapu was born Uday Prakash. His Ram Katha draws huge crowds and his followers call him Rashtriya Sant. He runs Vishwa Kalyan Mission Trust and a Ram Parivar Sewa Samiti, both at Hardwar.
Bapu is close to yoga guru Swami Ramdev, who had visited his religious gatherings in Mirzapur in 2011. He is also a regular on several religious TV channels. Unlike other Hindu seers, Chinmayanand is not always clad in saffron robes. During his religious discourses, he usually appears in designer embroidered, laced sherwanis.
His ashram in Hardwar said they have no information whether Priyanka Pandey will contest the Lok Sabha election. An official said that Bapu was travelling and it was hard to contact him.
"Bapuji is presently in Banswada, Rajasthan, for Ram Katha. From there, he will go to Etawah and will return to the ashram in Hardwar on December 23. Then only we will be in a position to say anything,'' said an ashram official, who identified himself as Anoop.