New Delhi / Hyderabad: Swami Paripoornananda, known as the “Yogi of the South”, on Friday formally joined the BJP, in presence of party president Amit Shah.
Considered close to the Sangh Parivar, the head of the Kaikinada-based Shree Peetham, Swami Paripoornananda joining the saffron fold has led to speculation that he could either contest the Assembly polls in Telangana state from the Hyderabad region or contest the coming Lok Sabha polls from Hyderabad, considered the bastion of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi.
The new ‘Hindutva face’ in the saffron fold, Swami Paripoornananda had met Mr Shah and RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat recently. The BJP has been trying to expand its base in the South from where it recently lost a key ally, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam.
Swami Paripoornananda, who also founded the Hindu Vahini, is considered to have a major influence over tribals of the region and a significant number of followers in the South.
He was recently in the news when he was externed from Hyderabad in July for six months for allegedly making provocative statements which were seen as a retaliation to film critic Kathi Mahesh’s comments against Hindu dieties.
The Hyderabad High Court later stayed the order and the seer was given a rousing welcome upon his return to Hyderebad. “I have joined the party as a Karamyogi,” said the seer after joining the saffron fold and added that he would work as a sevak of the BJP with zero expectation and spread its message to southern parts of the country.
Mr Amit Shah said Swami Paripoornananda had made a big contribution in the fields of social service and religious activities in south India and his presence in the party will strengthen it a lot, especially in Telangana state and Andhra Pradesh.
The seer said he would work 24 hours a day to ensure the victory of the party. He said he would bring to poliicts the zeal with which he worked in the spiritual field. To a question said, he was ready to work any where in India as per the political requirements of the party.
“His joining the BJP will infuse new energy into the party and boost its election prospects in Telangana state,” Mr Shah, flanked by the seer and party general secretary Ram Madhav, said.
Mr Madhav who played an active role in inducting the seer into the BJP, is said to have drafted a clear role for him in the elections. The seer has been propagating the Advaita philosophy and the principles of Sanatana Dharma by going to every nook and corner of Andhra Pradesh.