The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems unclear about its association with its leader and former union minister Swami Chinmayanand who has been arrested after being accused of raping and physically exploiting a 23-year-old law student.
In one of its statement, the far-right party dissociated itself from the former Union minister. The party’s spokesperson for the Uttar Pradesh unit Harish Shrivastava told NDTV on Wednesday that “Chinmayanand is not a member of the BJP anymore.” It establishes the fact that he has been a member of the party.
However, on the other hand, the news agency IANS in its tweet mentioned the BJP has said that the accused was never a member of the party and hence there is no question of expelling him from the party.
A little history of the party in power and its connection with the accused would reveal not only how closely he was associated with the party but also how its senior leaders helped him flourish. In the 1990s the BJP had fielded many “saints” in elections in order to draw votes. Swami Chinmayanand contested in 1991 from Badaun and defeated Sharad Yadav by 15000 votes, Newslaundry reported.
The Newslaundry report also said that Swami Chinmayanand was in good terms with the then chief of Vishwa Hindu Parishad Ashok Singhal and prominent BJP leaders like LK Advani. All three along with many other BJP senior leaders were named in The Liberhan Commission report which said that demolition of Babri Masjid was pre-planned.
It was only nine days before the Babri Masjid was demolished, Chinmayanand had communicated to the Supreme Court, as part of an affidavit by the UP government, that the kar seva scheduled for December 6, 1992, would pose no threat to the law and order situation in Ayodhya.
Newslaundry also reported that Swami has been closely associated with the current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath. He has been looking after the Shahjanapur Hindu Yuva Vahini, a far-right Hindutva organisation run by Yogi Adityanath.
In Parliament, Chinamayanand along with Yogi Adityanath had been a consistent voice in support of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. "There was always a temple there, there is a temple there, and only a temple can come up there," the two had proclaimed in the Parliament in December 2000, the report read.
After he became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath had visited Shahjahanpur in 2018 to inaugurate a school building in the Shri Daivi Sampad Inter College (SDSIC).
It is to be noted that Chinmayanand was accused of rape in 2011 but the trial in the case has been stalled. Recently, the Congress spokesperson Rajeev Tyagi while questioning UP government on the ongoing case against Chinmayanand alleged that Yogi Adityanath has also tried to save the accused in another rape case dating back to 2011.
Further, Swami had also tried to get his friend Asaram Bapu off the POSCO hook by allegedly fabricating documents to discredit the minor who had been assaulted by Asaram. A video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he was seen singing with Asaram had gone viral on social media. After which he asked Rajnath Singh to ensure that no spokesperson or leader from the party is seen or heard defending Asaram in the rape of a minor girl, media reports had said.