This astrologers’ village splits over Rajasthan poll outcome

Karoi (Rajasthan): Nearly 25km before Bhilwara town in Rajasthan, a fork in the national highway from Udaipur leads to a small market area which marks the beginning of Karoi village. As one enters the village, several hoardings of astrology centres on each side of the main road, vie for attention.

This astrologers’ village splits over Rajasthan poll outcome

Karoi, which locals also call “jyotish nagar” or the astrologers’ hub, is home to a number of families engaged in the profession. According to locals, there are at least 20 astrology centres in the village that see visitors from across the country and even attracts foreign tourists.

Ever since the schedule for state assembly polls was announced, Karoi has witnessed politicians turning up to get a peek into their fortunes. Rajasthan goes to polls next week but in Karoi, there is no consensus among astrologers and the average voter on its outcome.

Gopal Lal Vyas, 60, is one of the well-known astrologers in Karoi. In photos adorning the wall right outside his office, Vyas is seen posing with chief minister Vasundhara Raje and Union home minister Rajnath Singh, among others.

“I am yet to do a full reading for Rajasthan polls. But I had already said in March that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will return to the top post in an alliance government. I think in Rajasthan, BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) will be able to form government but with support of independents and smaller parties,” said Vyas.

Vyas fished out scores of old laminated newspaper clippings and explained how he had “accurately predicted” the 2009 Lok Sabha elections outcome in favour of former prime minister Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

In Rajasthan, the Raje-led BJP government is battling one term of anti-incumbency particularly over farm distress and unemployment, and is in a tough electoral battle with key challenger Congress. In this high-stakes election season, Karoi’s astrologers have had political visitors not just from the state but from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh as well.

Four buildings away from Vyas’ office, another astrologer, Om Prakash Vyas, keeps busy with a schedule full of appointments with politicians. Vyas, 52, said that politicians seek his consultation during non-election season as well, often to know their prospects of getting either a top party post or a ministerial berth.

“Politicians come to us mainly from Rajasthan, Gujarat and even Madhya Pradesh among others. They want to know if their stars are aligned to bag election tickets or appointments to key posts. This time, it looks like change is on the cards in Rajasthan and the outcome may go in Congress’ favour,” Om Prakash Vyas said.

Vyas also weighed in on the forthcoming 2019 general elections. “Mahoday ke chances acche hai (The gentleman’s prospects are bright),” he said, referring to PM Modi.

Despite being an astrology hotspot, Karoi’s residents feel that their fortunes have not changed much over the years. “One would think that a village like ours will be very well-developed. But we have been more ignored than others. Roads are in poor shape and there are open drains. We may not be able to foretell the results, but we want a change this time,” said Praveen Sukhwal, a 29-year-old garment shop owner from Karoi.

source: livemint


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