Former Union Minister Chinmayanand, who was arrested last week after a law student accused him of rape and blackmail, is no longer a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This claim was made by the party spokesperson in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, which is the first official response given by the party a month after the allegations surfaced.
The 72-year-old Chinmayanand was the Minister of State in the government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Center. He has also been a party MP for three terms. BJP spokesperson in Uttar Pradesh Harish Srivastava told NDTV on Wednesday, “Chinmayanand is no longer a member of the BJP … the law will do its job …”
Asked when Chinmayanand has not been a BJP member, Harish Srivastava said, “This is not a question of the document, and we cannot tell you an exact date, but Chinmayananda is not a member of the BJP …”
Holy men had disowned Chinmayanand already
Earlier, on 11 September, sadhu samaj or the community of holy men, known to be close to the central and Uttar Pradesh dispensations, had distanced themselves from this swami. An influential Swami of Rishikesh said that Swami Chinmayanand had been warned by the people on multiple occasions; “now he has to face the law”.
Chinmayanand stopped getting support or sympathy either from the Union government or from the central leadership of the BJP early this month. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has been reported to be rather uncomfortable with this ‘swami’.
Before he became ‘swami’
Swami Chinmayanand has been a Member of Parliament from the Machhasahar Lok Sabha seat of Jaunpur. He played a big role in the Ram Mandir movement along with Gorakhpur’s mahant and former MP Avaidyanath. Due to his association with the ideological movement, he was once respected in the organisation. Swami Chinmayanand was in the league of other holy men in the mutts of Rishikesh, Haridwar and Ayodhya. Mahant Avaidyanath is believed to have played a role in making him an MP.
Swami Chinmayanand made Shahjahanpur his base where he heads the Mumuksha Ashram. Much as the ‘saints’ have disowned him now, the fate of the Mumuksha Ashram is not uncertain. It is managed by a trust.
Swami Chinmayanand was born as Krishna Pal Singh in Gonda of Uttar Pradesh. He left home at the age of 20.
Chinmayanand was a minister of state in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government, 1999-2004, a three-time Lok Sabha MP from Jaunpur and the president of the management committee of the Swami Sukhdevanand Post Graduate College (SSPG), where the 23-year-old law student studied.
Chinmayanand was elected to 13th Lok Sabha from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh as a BJP candidate in 1999. He was a member of 10th Lok Sabha from Badaun in 1991 and from Machhlishahr in 1998.
This is not Chinmayanand’s first brush with the law. In 2011, one of his disciples had accused him of rape, abduction and forced abortion. In 2018, the Uttar Pradesh government withdrew the case.
Rent-a-cause celebs at it again
In the meantime, the section of Bollywood that had gone berserk in the case of Kathua has sniffed out an opportunity here, too. Swara Bhasker wrote on Twitter, “Beti inhi se bachao, (it’s men like these from whom daughters must be saved),” mocking the Union government’s campaign “Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao”.
Rahul Dev wrote, “Bizarre.. A girl gets harassed/molested by a hypocritical swami caught on camera .. read #Chinmayanand .. Cops arrest him .. Now the victim gets arrested for extortion by the SIT! Is this happening in India”
Richa Chadha wrote, “What the what is even happening,” whatever that means!