The Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Thursday chose to declare at a gathering of 2 lakh priests at the Kumbh mela that it supported Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the BJP's candidate for Prime Minister in 2014, putting the party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in a spot.
An NDTV report says that the RSS-affiliate said Modi was a "mascot for Hindutva", who had helped his party win "even in Muslim-dominated areas in Gujarat, without giving tickets to any Muslim."
Several saints at VHP's Dharma Sansad raised slogans for Modi as prime minister.
While RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat also lauded Modi, he steered clear of openly naming him as a prime ministerial candidate they would back.
"A true Hindu will always speak for everyone's interest," he said, adding,"Everyone is saying the same thing about who must be prime minister."
VHP chief Ashok Singhal openly pitched for Modi, but a known baiter of the Chief Minister, Praveen Togadia, refused to even take his name in his press interactions. While Singhal compared Modi to Nehru, Togadia said he will not talk about one person or one party, reported IBN-Live.
“It is for the first time since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru when a leader has come to enjoy such a massive popularity across the country,” Singhal told reporters at the ongoing Maha Kumbh congregation.
The statement of the former VHP chief came shortly before the visit of BJP National President Rajnath Singh, who met senior Sangh Parivar leaders and attend a meeting of the central advisory committee of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Making it clear that the VHP functions according to its ‘maryada’ (decorum) and ‘seema’ (limitations), he said, “We will not violate peace by engaging ourselves in politics. Our sole concern is the welfare of the Hindu community.”
The IBN-Live report says that though a product of the sangh, Modi and the VHP haven’t had the best of relations in the recent past. The Gujarat Chief Minister hasn't done anything for the organisation in his state and Singhal’s statement is being seen as an attempt to build bridges with the the rising star of the BJP
With inputs from PTI
First Published On : Feb 8, 2013 08:15 IST