Taken aback by the warning of priests at Char Dham temples that they would not allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to Kedarnath shrine on November 5, the top leadership of BJP government in the state has travelled to Delhi to discuss the matter with party high command.

The priests are protesting against the Char Dham Devsthanam Board Act passed by the Uttarakhand Assembly in December 2019. The priests have been opposing the law even before its inception alleging that it robs them of their “haq-hukuk (traditional rights)”.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, state BJP chief Madan Kaushik and other  leaders are in Delhi to discuss the matter with BJP national president J P Nadda and other senior leaders. A BJP leader from Uttarakhand told this newspaper on condition of anonymity that the protests by priests have shocked the government as well as the state party leaders. “They (leaders) are apprehensive of PM’s visit being
disturbed. Back-channel talks are ongoing with the priests and some decision can be expected soon.”

On Monday, former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat had to face protest by the priests, sending shockwaves within the state government as well as the party. The protests, sloganeering and agitation by the priests was so strong that Rawat had to leave the shrine without obtaining darshan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kedarnath is scheduled for November 5. Meanwhile, CM Dhami met priests from Badrinath shrine on Tuesday evening and assured them that a solution will be found regarding the Act. (NewIndianExpress)