The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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VHP rides roughshod over Advani rath yatra

Pune, Dec. 28: More than a decade after L.K. Advani’s rath rolled and accelerated the BJP’s run for power, the VHP today said the yatra had “damaged” the cause of Hindutva.

The VHP also passed a resolution threatening an “open confrontation” if the government came in the way of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

VHP international working president Ashok Singhal said Advani’s campaign had done little except “politicise” Hindutva.

“Prior to that, there were eminent personalities from all parties who would associate with the VHP. There were Congressmen, too, among others from various political parties, but the yatra changed all that,” he said.

“The rath yatra made our Ram Janmabhoomi agitation a one-party affair,” he added at the end of closed-door parleys at the VHP’s Kondhwa conclave.

Insisting the BJP had done nothing for the VHP like his outfit had done for that party, Singhal said the Gujarat election victory should not be attributed to the BJP but to the brand of Hindutva it supported.

“Make no mistake, no party won the Gujarat elections. It was Hindutva that won the elections,” he said.

Briefing newsmen on a resolution passed at the conclave, Singhal said the VHP had vowed to “confront” the government if it continued to place hurdles in the way of the temple construction.

“Till now, we were not confronting the governments that have been in power at the Centre,” Singhal said, but warned that after its February dharam sansad “things would change”.

Pitching his rhetoric higher when asked if the Gujarat victory had made the VHP impatient, Singhal said: “No, the Gujarat elections have nothing to do with it. We are impatient because Hindus feel insulted that in their own country they are unable to instal the pratima of their own god.”

Asked to elaborate on the “resolution of confrontation”, the VHP chief said at the dharam sansad — to be attended by 8000-10,000 sadhus — there would be some “kathor (harsh) decisions.

“We know that the recommendations of the dharam sansad will be stringent and tough, but we have to brace ourselves for it; this is the first time sadhus and sants are talking about confrontation. It’s time to act and silence jihadi forces,” he said.

“Don’t take this lightly,” he continued, “this (confrontation) was a very important decision we took today. There will be no further mollycoddling. If there is opposition and obstacle, we will tackle them hard and we will not be responsible for the consequences. The government has been warned.”

Singhal, however, held his silence on the prospects of snap polls in Uttar Pradesh and distanced himself from state BJP chief Vinay Katiyar’s statements on mid-term elections.

“We have nothing to do with what Katiyar says,” he said, adding that the VHP would back whoever supports Hindutva.

Hum BJP ka saath nahin dete, hum Hindutva ka saath dete hain (We don’t support the BJP, we support Hindutva),” he said. “The BJP knows what happened between us before elections in Jammu.”

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