Allahabad: Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad
appeared to have virtually split on Friday with a meeting of the
apex body of Hindu sants here electing its new office-bearers
even as supporters of the outfit`s chief, who snubbed a BJP
leader for his insistence that Muslims forego their claim to
the disputed site in Ayodhya, boycotted the exercise.
"The meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad has
unanimously elected Balwant Singh of the Nirmal Akhara as its
President and Shankaranand Giri of the Anand Akhara as its
General Secretary", Parishad`s spokesman Ramanand Puri told
Puri, who belongs to Niranjani Akhara and the head priest
of Manasa Devi Temple Trust at Haridwar, said all the 13
akharas, which are part of the Parishad, except the Joona and
the Avahan akharas, had taken part in today` meeting.
He, however, said non-participation of the two akharas
will have no bearing upon the acceptability of the new
office-bearers as the "quorum required to grant legitimacy to
the exercise was very much in place".
However, sources in Akhara Parishad said the election of
new office-bearers may spell trouble in the wake of stiff
opposition from supporters of the outgoing President Mahant
Gyandas who are reportedly holding a meeting at Haridwar with
the purpose of mobilising sants against today`s exercise.
Mahant Gyandas and his supporters are going to contend
that the elections were held in alleged contravention of the
traditions of the Parishad, which entail that the incumbent
adhyaksh (president) and mahamantri (secretary general) must
be present during the process of electing new office-bearers,
the sources said.
Mahant Gyandas, by virtue of being the head priest of
Hanumangarhi temple at Ayodhya, was a leading plaintiff in the
Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit decided on September
30 by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court.
A votary of resolving the dispute through negotiations,
Mahant Gyan Das had recently caused a flutter by coming down
heavily on BJP vice-president Vinay Katiyar for having asked
Muslims to forego their claim to one-third of the disputed
site allotted to them by the court order.