Voices of dissent necessary to cleanse political system: Sri Sri Ravishankar

Sri Sri Ravishankar

Disapproving the practice of issuing whips by political leaders, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar on Saturday said voices of dissent must have place in politics.

"Voices of dissent are necessary to cleanse the political system. I have never been able to understand the system of whips being issued by parties," Ravishankar, who was here to attend the Maha Kumbh congregation, said.

"If this choice is not given to individual members, the whole purpose of voting gets defeated," he said.

Asserting that corruption was caused just as much by "evil people" as by the silence and inaction of good people, the Art of Living founder said, "There are good people in every political party and they should be allowed to voice their opinions, even against their own parties.

"There should be a rethink on this practice, else degeneration in politics will continue unabated," he said.

Asked about religious leaders at the Kumbh projecting Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate in the next Lok Sabha elections, Shankar said, "Gurus must not say anything which could prevent their followers from making a free individual choice. These things are best left to the people."

On Yoga guru Ramdev's decision to float a political outfit to contest elections, he said, "There is nothing wrong if a religious figure decides, as a citizen, to actively take part in public life."

When asked about self-styled godman Nithyananda and Radhe Ma being conferred the title of "Mahamandaleshwar" by 'akharas' of 'naga sadhus', the spiritual leader said, "There ought to be a control body which could keep a check on people with dubious distinctions taking undue advantage."

On his efforts to make the Ganga pollution-free, Shankar said his organisation was contemplating to persuade the owners of tanneries to stop releasing waste into the river.

Shankar also discussed about his organisation's initiative to train jail inmates in computers so that on being released they can start a new life.

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