Saffronisation is not a novel concept to Indians, and has, in fact, seeped into the national conscience. With the current ruling party at Centre, the BJP, having leaders like Yogi Adityanath or Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, are many times seen promoting Hindu ideology.
The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), whose founders encouraged Hindu training to form a Hindu rashtra (Hindu nation), is seen as a major force driving the BJP’s brand of politics. Hindutva politics has played a bigger hand in BJP’s rise to power. There is a section of politicians in BJP which don saffron to prove their point of their authority over religion and politics. They are also often referred to as Mahant or Sadhvi. The saffron party is banking on these leaders to gain voters from Hindu community.
It’s just not Yogi Adityanath, who is also Mahant (chief priest) of Gorakhnath temple, or Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who is an Ayurvedic practitioner in Bhind, Madhya Pradesh and a worker of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. She is also a founder member of Vande Mataram Jan Kalyan Samiti, which is an organisation connected to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and belongs to the Sangh Parivar. Both leaders have been in headlines for their Hindutva style politics. But these are not the only politicians who don saffron and prove their authority in politics. There are more.
Here’s a list of politicians who don saffron and are promoting religion in their own way
Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti: A Katha vachak or a religious preacher, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti became an MP for the first time in the 2014 general election from Fatehpur. After senior BJP leader Uma Bharti, she is the second sadhvi to hold a portfolio in the union council of ministers. She is minister of state for food processing.
Sakshi Maharaj: Controversial BJP MP from Unnao Swami Sachchidanand Hari Sakshi Ji Maharaj, also known as Sakshi Maharaj, holds a PhD degree. In 1991, he won the Lok Sabha election from Mathura for the first time as a BJP nominee. Thereafter, he won the Farrukhabad Lok Sabha seat in 1996 and 1998, again as a BJP candidate. From 2000-2006, this saffron-clad politician was a Rajya Sabha member of the Samajwadi Party.
Uma Bharti: Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti, who is often referred to as a ‘sanyasin-politician’, was elected MP from Jhansi in 2014. Uma Bharti, who was union minister for water resources and Ganga rejuvenation in the Modi government, opted out of the poll arena this time. She is campaigning for party candidates across the state.
Sadhvi Savitri Bai Phule: Savitri Bai Phule was elected to the 16th Lok Sabha on a BJP ticket from her home town Bahraich in 2014. In December last year, she quit the BJP and joined the Congress early this year. Savitri Bai is seeking re-election from Bahraich, as a Congress candidate. In the 2012 assembly election, she won the Balha seat in Bahraich as a BJP candidate.
Swami Sumedhanand Saraswati: Swami Sumedhanand Saraswati was elected in 2014 from Sikar in Rajasthan. Saraswati left home in 1974 and joined Arya Samaj. Saraswati is a sadhu and has also founded one Vedic ashram. He is a former working president of Saarva Deshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, a Delhi based organisation affiliated to Arya Samaj. Before entering politics, he has organised campaigns for cow protection and education of cultural tradition and Vedas.