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Since 1st March, 1999
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Praise for Togadia, barb at Vajpayee

New Delhi, Nov. 12: The man who edited the BJP’s in-house magazine but lost his job after several gaffes has struck back.

Prafulla Goradia, who heads the party’s publications and literature division, has extolled controversial VHP leader Praveen Togadia in an article called Voice that Resounds in Hindu Hearts, put out yesterday on the RSS website.

The former BJP Today editor did not stop at that. Goradia, who is said to be close to deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani but has rarely concealed his distaste for Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s politics, also took a potshot at the Prime Minister after lying low for a couple of years.

The context was the Ayodhya “agitation” for a Ram temple which, Goradia recalled, was spearheaded by Advani when the Babri Masjid Action Committee came into being. “In the meantime, the BJP had been forced by the formation of the Babri Masjid Action Committee to espouse the cause of Ram Lalla culminating in the legendary Advani rath yatra. The party’s bold and open claim gave it more and more Lok Sabha seats until it was eventually crowned with power,” he said.

He went on to say that when the Babri “edifice” was demolished, nobody came forth to take responsibility, “certainly neither the Congress nor the BJP”.

Goradia’s punch line was: “Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee had gone nowhere near the Saryu, to say nothing of crossing it!”

Goradia recalled the “shilanyas” of 1989, sanctioned by the then Congress government, “to assuage the Hindu anger against the Muslim Women’s Bill”. The Congress, “figuratively speaking… did not swim the Saryu and seek votes on this exploit”, he said.

Without naming the BJP, he went on to criticise it for doing what the Congress did not — using Ayodhya for votes. “The lure of votes draws all parties and leaders to Ayodhya. But when it comes to swimming in the Saryu and submerging oneself in the cause of Ram mandir, the habit of past electioneering beckons them back…. Most are ready to wet their feet but few are willing to plunge into the holy river.”

Togadia, Goradia believes, stands out for swimming against the tide. “Mr Praveen Togadia’s voice”, he said, echoes the “heartbeats” of the Hindu masses. Describing the VHP leader as a “significant microcosm of a historical macrocosm”, Goradia claimed that Togadia personified the “divide between the Hindu classes and the Hindu masses”.

As BJP Today editor, Goradia had run foul of the Prime Minister when, on the first anniversary of the NDA government, he carried only an interview with Advani and a cover with just his picture but made no mention of Vajpayee.

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