Ujjain, April 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to take a holy dip in the river Shipra on May 14 and attend the Simhastha Kumbh Mahaparv, a festival whose run-up saw a priest today predict “turbulence in politics”.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Union home minister Rajnath Singh, actors Govinda and Raveena Tandon, and industrialist Mukesh Ambani are among the others slated to take the dip during the month-long festival starting this Friday. The religious congregation is held every 12 years on the Shipra’s banks in this town in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh.
“The Simhastha will pass off peacefully but the time is not favourable for politics, which will witness turbulence,” soothsayer-priest Nagulal Choudhury said today during a pre-festival ritual. He did not specify whether the “turbulence” would be limited to Madhya Pradesh, leaving open the question of whether the grim prognosis covered the chief ministers of the five states now in the middle of polls, including Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee.
In parts of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, pre-Simhastha predictions are taken as gospel truth.
An Ujjain old-timer, Rajendra Kothari, recalled that after a similar prophecy in 2004, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was voted out as Prime Minister and Uma Bharti had to quit as Madhya Pradesh chief minister following a Karnataka court’s ruling against her in a 1994 rioting case. Uma’s exit had come within months of a poll landslide that ejected the Digvijaya Singh-led Congress out of power.
“I am a rationalist but there has been too much of a co-incidence in terms of the Simhastha causing political upheaval. Madhya Pradesh has seen the exit of five chief ministers after (such predictions),” said Kothari, a tech graduate from BITS Pillani. He claimed current chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had been advised to hold yagnas and special prayers to “ward off adversity”.
Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, said to be on “shaky ground” because of dissent in the ruling BJP’s ranks, is also likely to visit Ujjain in her “personal capacity”. Her family, the Scindias, used to be patrons of such festivals. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will also attend the festival.