Nagpur: Like never before in the history of Sai Mandir, more than 11,000 applications have been received for obtaining membership of Sai Baba Sewa Mandal, Wardha Road, Nagpur. Final list is expected to be out in a fortnight and then the election date will be declared by the office of the charity commissioner,Nagpur.
The office of joint charity commissioner, Nagpur had been accepting membership applications since May 11, 2015 and the last application was accepted by 4 pm of July 10, in favour of Sai Mandir, and the doors of the office were then shut. The registration process was being supervised by assistant charity commissioner A P Matte and returning officer ACC Mangla Kamble under strict police bandobast.
It may be noted that joint charity commissioner A P Matte, disposing of an appeal and two applications, had given green signal to the elections of Sai Baba Sewa Mandal, and also appointed assistant charity commissioner Mangla Kamble as returning officer to the Mandal elections. Accordingly, Kamble had issued notification for registration of membership with necessary terms and conditions. The patron membership fee was Rs 1,00,000 while the life-membership was Rs 10,000 and the ordinary membership fee was Rs 1000 minimum.
As per Sai Baba Sewa Mandal Registration Rules of 1998, there have to be 2 patron-members, 22 life-members and 1805 ordinary members. But these members had not deposited their additional fees. A litigation was moved to the Supreme Court against additional fees, but the collecting of additional fee from members was upheld. As on this day many members have not deposited additional fees. According to sources, only 500 members from the old lot have filed new-membership applications.
The present status of Sewa Mandal is that this time membership has increased, much against the strength of membership in year 1998. and certain political parties have latent interest in the Sai Mandir elections. Thus, local political leaders like Munna Jasiwal, Baba Maind, Sandeep Agrawal, Gudadhe Patil, Parinay Fuke and others have become active in the field of their electoral strategy, and they are spending liberally the money to materialize their intention to control the trust.
Amidst such developments, there are sensible devotees who want that the honest members should go the body of trustees. From their past experiences they find that selfish trustees are minting money from the donations and offerings to the temple. They now feel that the circumstances must change and Sai Baba should play miracles to bring a wonderful transformation in the trustee-board.
Some are even questioning the increased quantum of membership fee which should have been always low for the sake of religious sentiments of devotees, and also for the sake of moral accountability. They apprehend the danger of politics entering the Sai Mandir Trust and eating away the faith people/ devotees attach to the temple. Their concern is that this time those persons are being made members who have never seen the steps and doors of Sai Mandir, all under political manoeuvring.
Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha (firstname.lastname@example.org)