Miffed with govt, Warkaris to campaign against Cong, NCP

The Warkari sect and various right wing organisations on Friday opposed the passage of the Anti-superstition Bill by the Lower House of the state legislature. Bapu Maharaji Raokar, president of the Warkari Sena, has been agitating against the Bill in Nagpur for the last few days. He said Kirtankars will now start campaigning against the Congress and the NCP to ensure their defeat in the elections.

The murder of Dr Narendra Dabholkar had forced the state government to pass the ordinance. The Warkari Sena has organised a series of agitation in Nagpur to coincide with the ongoing Assembly session in a bid to put pressure on the government not to pass the Bill.

Raokar had started an indefinite fast. "Our opposition to the Bill is due to the fact that it would endanger our religious practices. The Bill talks about penalising people who talk or celebrate miracles and that would have a direct effect on our practices," he said.

Raokar said how the "Hari Paath", the lives and scriptures of the sect, celebrate the miracles of the saint and the very existence of the annual pilgrimage of "Wari" would come under threat.

The passage of the Bill in the Lower House, Raokar said, was an act of deceit on part of the government. "The Bill was passed without consulting us. We had wanted to meet the chief minister to express our concerns about the Bill but he refused it," he said.

Raokar said the Kirtankars of the state will take up campaigning against the government. "We number in thousands and have presence across the state. We will campaign against those who got the Bill passed and will show our strength in the next election."

Sunil Dhanwat, Maharashtra incharge of the Hindu Jangruti Manch (HJM), a right wing organisation, too expressed his disappointment. "The Bill was passed in an undemocratic way. The government almost steam-rolled the Bill," he said. HJM has been long protesting the Bill and Dhanwat said they would discuss the situation.

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