Astrologers and temple priests in Chhattisgarh are witnessing an increase in the number of politicians and other aspirants visiting them ever since the announcement of Assembly polls.
Most concerns of these visitors range from seeking appropriate party tickets to an auspicious "muhurat" for filing in their nominations, and to winning the elections. Astrologers said that many of these aspirants, mostly from Congress and BJP, are also seeking divine intervention to settle their uncertainties including prospects of winning elections, and are even performing 'yajnas' and visiting shrines and holy places.
As allegiance typically get redefined during election period, some politicians want to know who are their all-weather supporters. "Senior politicians and party workers, especially from BJP and Congress, are visiting my place with their kundlis (horoscopes)," astrologer Dattatreya Hoskere told PTI.
A Raipur-based priest Ashok Yadav said candidates are making a beeline for temples in a bid to propitiate deities to ward off "evil eye" and seek blessings to out manoeuvre opponents. While some leaders have undertaken various vows to ensure their sure shot win, some have resorted to performing special 'pujas'. Astrologers feel the filing of nominations for the second phase of elections is expected to reach a peak on last two days- Oct 31 and Nov 1- as they are considered auspicious.
"We have predicted Dhanteras which falls on Nov 1 and a day ahead as auspicious days for filing of nominations," Hoskere said, adding some of politicians are told to file in their papers according to their zodiac signs so as to better their chances of victory.
Candidates admitted that majority of them are indeed seeking the advice of astrologers due to a number of uncertainties associated with politics, particularly elections.
Chhattisgarh has a 90-member House, elections for which will be held in two phases on November 11 and November 19. "Puja is an important part of everyone's life and before commencing good works we perform rituals. Similarly candidates also believe on shubh muhurat for filing in nominations and also for kicking off their campaign too," said BJP leader and Water Resources Minister Ramvichar Netam contesting from Ramanujganj constituency.
The veteran is seeking sixth consecutive term in the Assembly. "Candidates from tribal region also perform some traditional rituals hoping success in the contest," said Netam, himself a prominent tribal leader.
Similarly, Congress MLA TS Singhdeo, said horoscope played an important role in ensuring a candidate's fate. "We cannot rule out the importance of horoscope and rituals in our life's journey right from birth," Singhdeo said. "No matter how much one denies, but over 95 per cent of them (candidates) do consult an astrologer. They leave home at the time suggested by them, wear clothes and gem-stones suggested...Some of them also contact tantriks to ensure their win," he said.
Singhdeo has decided to file his nomination on Thursday between 11 am to 11:50 AM as the time period is billed "auspicious" for him. A youth candidate of Samajwadi Party, Kunal Shukla, who is fighting from Raipur city south seat, will also be filing in his nomination papers at an "appropriate" time. "After consultation, my parents had decided special days for purchasing nomination forms, when to file it and how to start campaign for me," Shukla said.
When asked about the logic behind this, the young contestant became philosophical, saying, "Future is always uncertain in politics and it is the destiny that is supreme whereas puja is just supportive".