Udupi: For the first time ever, a pontiff of the Ashta Matha may be contesting in the upcoming state Assembly elections. Sri Laxmivara Theertha Swami of Shiroor Matt on March 9 announced his decision to fight in elections as an independent candidate or on BJP ticket.
Speaking to press reporters at the Shiroor Matt in Harikandige, the pontiff said that his main intention for contesting in the elections was to ensure growth and development of the area. “I did not need to enter politics. But I felt the need to contest in the election to solve the problems of the people”, he added.
He criticised the Udupi district BJP leaders for failing to meet the aspirations of the people. At the same time, he maintained that BJP was doing a great job at the national level. “Given an opportunity, I am ready to contest on BJP ticket, so that I can work for the betterment of the party in Udupi. If not, I will contest as an independent candidate”, he added.
In response to a question on the funding of election expenses, he said, “I will not need money to stand for elections.”
Answering reporters on the question about the possibility of other Ashta Matt pontiffs opposing his decision, he said that, there were no rules to prevent seers from contesting elections. So, he hoped there should be no opposition from the other seers.
He also said that, if elected, alternative arrangements would be made to fulfill his religious commitments when he is in need to travel on duty as a public representative.
He also clarified that his decision to contest was solely his own and no party had requested him to contest in the election.