Kanchi Sankaracharya launches ‘spiritual’ party

via http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/assembly-elections-2011/tamil-nadu/Kanchi-Sankaracharya-launches-spiritual-party/articleshow/7777368.cms published on March 31, 2011

CHENNAI: Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati on Wednesday did something that he does several times a day, but this time he had politicians sitting up and taking notice.

Lighting a traditional lamp in Chennai, the seer officially launched a party called Tamil Nadu Desiya Aanmiga Makkal Katchi ( Tamil Nadu National Spiritual People’s Party), under the aegis of the Kanchi Sankara Math.

The pontiff holds no post in the party — Avadi Ravichandran, a businessman associated with the Kanchi Math, is designated the founder-leader. The party, for the time being, has no plans to contest elections, but it does have a manifesto: A law banning religious conversions, another one to ban cow slaughter and shifting of administrative powers over temples from government to private organisations.

“This is not merely a party,” said the Sankaracharya, showering flowers on the party flag that shows a raised fist on a saffron circle against a red backdrop. “This is a movement to get people to practise divine bhakti, to alienate all the evils surrounding us and let people lead a clean and happy life,” he said.

The materialistic bit came next, in the form of a resolution the party adopted on its founding day. Neither the state nor the Centre should interfere in the syllabus of private educational institutions, it said, though governments can set regulations and guidelines. Governments should give importance to agriculture and ensure no taxes are levied on agriculture or its allied products. This will ensure food for every human being, the resolution said.

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