The foundation stone-laying ceremony for the development of the Spiritual Circuit at Sivagiri Mutt in Varkala turned venue for a verbal war between State Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran and the saint of Sivagiri mutt.
It all began with an allegation by Kadakampally Surendran that the 'sanyasis (saints) of Sivagiri Mutt were playing politics in the implementation of the circuit project, sanctioned under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. "The spiritual circuit has been a project of the State Government. But the Centre is now trying to bypass such state projects. This will affect Centre-State relations. Besides, the Sivagiri Mutt sanyasis too have some hidden political agenda, and their clandestine moves to protect their political interests are not desirable," he said.
Varkala Sivagiri Mutt president Vishudhananda hit back, hailing the Centre and the BJP for the implementation of the project. "The Sivagiri Mutt is getting due attention from the Centre for the first time," he said. In his address, Vishudhananda did not forget to praise BJP president Amit Shah.
But SN Trust treasurer Swami Saradananda tried to soften the tiff, saying sanyasis did not have any political interests and were not part of any clandestine attempts as alleged by the Minister.
But the Union Tourism Minister, who inaugurated the function, did not interfere in the controversy. Instead, he said his Ministry had sanctioned seven projects in Kerala under the Swadesh Darshan and Prashad schemes worth Rs 550 crore. Giving a sting at the State Government, Kannanthanam suggested that BDJS, an ally of BJP, leader Thushar Vellappally should supervise this project.
The circuit connects Sivagiri, -Aruvippuram, Kunnumpara and Chempazhanthi.