- Swami Paripoornananda, head of Sree Peetham mutt, joined BJP today
- He will help BJP in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh: BJP president Amit Shah
- Earlier this year, he was banned from Hyderabad for "provocative remarks"
Swami Paripoornananda, head of Sree Peetham mutt, joined the BJP today in the presence of party president Amit Shah. He is likely to be a key face of the BJP in the two Telugu speaking states in India - Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. His entry is particularly significant given the upcoming Assembly elections in Telangana.
Reports suggest he is interested in contesting from Telangana either in the state polls or in the 2019 general election.
"I am happy to be part of this party...I am grateful to BJP president Amit Shah and Ram Madhav ji. I will follow them and work," he said after being welcomed into the party by Amit Shah and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav
"I will work 24*7. I need nothing because Telugu people have given me a lot. I come here as a karmachari (worker) and will remain a karmayogi (one who desires nothing for his work)," Swami Paripoornananda said at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.
Swami Paripoornananda, often described as the "Yogi Adityanath of the south", was banned from Hyderabad for six months in July for allegedly making provocative statements. The Hyderabad High Court suspended the ban in August.
Though his Mutt is located in Kakinada in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, he has a significant following in Telangana as well.
Earlier this year, Swami Paripoornananda had demanded the arrest of Telugu actor and movie critic Kathi Mahesh over his alleged statements against Hindu deities and said he had "hurt" Hindu sentiment.
"It is a day of joy for the BJP because Swami Paripoornananda has joined the party. He has contributed immensely in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and all the southern states in the fields of social work, religion and public awakening...Earlier his blessings were with us, now he is with us himself," Amit Shah said, welcoming Swami Paripoornananda into the party.
"We expect that his joining the party will benefit the BJP across the south, especially in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. I believe his entry will energise the party in the Telangana elections and increase our chances of victory," the BJP president added.
All the 119 seats in Telangana will vote on December 7. The results will be declared on December 11. BJP had contested the 2014 assembly elections in Telangana in alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and won five seats. This time, the TDP has formed an alliance with the Congress.