Three days after mocking religious guru Shobhan Sarkar whose dream about buried gold has sent the ASI on a bizarre digging expedition in Unnao, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, did a U-turn on Monday, while the party sent its MLA from Maharajpur in Kanpur, Satish Mahana, to Sarkar’s ashram in Buxar, Unnao.
This came a day after the “Shobhan Sarkar Ashram” circulated an equally bizarre open letter, targeting Modi on issues ranging from Ram Sethu to Bofors, and promising to “provide 21,000 tonnes of gold to the government”.
“Sant Shobhan Sarkar ke prati anek varshon se laakhon logon ki shraddha judi hui hai. Main unki tapasya aur tyaag ko pranam karta hoon (Lakhs of people have reposed faith in Shobhan Sarkar over the last many years. I salute his penance and renunciation),” Modi tweeted on Monday.
“Bharat sarkar se agrah karta hoon ki woh videshon mein jamaa kaale dhan ke sambandh main ek white paper prastut kar desh ki janta ko ashwast karein (I urge the government to come out with a white paper on black money and reassure the people of the nation),” he tweeted.
Addressing a rally in Chennai last week, Modi had said, “The whole world is laughing at us over this bizarre exercise. Somebody dreamt and the government has launched an excavation. The money hidden by thieves and looters of India in foreign banks is worth much more than 1,000 tonnes of gold. If you bring back that money, you won’t have to go digging for gold.”
Countering Modi, the letter circulated to the media by Sarkar’s disciple Swami Om, bearing the address of Sarkar’s ashram with “Om” written in Hindi in place of the signature, said, “Shobhan Sarkar has seen the dream of making India the world’s most powerful nation. To fulfil this dream, Swamiji had taken a vow to provide India with gold reserves more than the combined gold reserves of UK and USA... He has vowed to provide 21,000 tonnes of gold to the government... If the nation’s aspirations are not fulfilled, I will cut off my head.”
The letter asked why the then BJP-led government under A B Vajpayee had not brought back the black money from Swiss banks. “The amount of money being spent on branding you and your party, is the money white or black? You are being seen as the next