Bharti managed to secure entry to the temple’s sanctum on the basis of her status as sadhvi despite the fact that temple authorities had barred entry on the day owing to huge rush of the devotees to have ‘darshan’ of Lord Mahakal.
Eye-witnesses said she was initially stopped by the officials as the administration had barred the entry into Garbh Grah (sanctum-sanctorum) in view of the rush during the Mahashivratri.
Ujjain Collector Sanket Bhondwe, who is the chairman of the temple committee, informed her about this rule, but the Minister was visibly annoyed, witnesses said.
Union water resources minister told the officials that she was a ‘Sadhvi’ (spiritual leader) and therefore they cannot prevent her from entering the sanctum-sanctorum to offer ‘jal’ (water) to the deity.
Bhondwe later told PTI that “we allowed her only to offer water, and did not allow any other person (to enter).”
The bar to entry in the sanctum sanctorum was meant to avoid inconvenience to the people, and because of this system, more than 2.5 lakh people could have ‘darshan’, he said.
Meanwhile, Bharti said in a statement later that she went to the temple only after getting a permission from Mahant of Udasin Akhara Prakash Puri, who looks after issues regarding the temple’s customs.
She only performed ‘Jalabhishek’ as she had the due permission and it was also allowed to other ‘mahants’ and priests of the temple, she said.
On Mahashivratri every sadhu has the right to perform ‘Jalabhishek’, she said, adding that she was a ‘Dikshit Sanyasi’ (properly initiated spiritual leader). The senior BJP leader also praised Madhya Pradesh government for making arrangements during the Simhasth (Kumbh) mela last year.