The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ideal PM' Atal has a three-in-one model

New Delhi, Oct. 1: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad today sought to give the impression that it did not wish to prolong the war of words with the BJP on Ashok Singhal’s anti-Vajpayee remarks, but in a subtle way ended up justifying what the VHP president said.

Addressing newsmen, VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia maintained that Singhal had expressed “genuine concern” when he alleged in Lucknow last Saturday that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s decisions had harmed the BJP and that he had failed to check terrorism because he acted under “foreign” pressure.

“Genuine concern was expressed by a person who is not only a supporter but an ardent supporter of the BJP for so many decades,” he said.

The operative part in Togadia’s response was: “When a supporter raises concern, it is the duty of the BJP to introspect and we hope it will do so.” Asked if the VHP stood by Singhal’s criticism, he said: “The chapter is closed.” Asked who made for an ideal Prime Minister, Togadia said: “Any leader who combines the qualities of Ariel Sharon, Shivaji and George Bush Junior could become the PM. He should be the kind of person who, from Cuttack to Attock, can destroy the jihadis.”

Declining to directly say if the NDA government was successful in eliminating the jihadis, he said: “If it is unsuccessful, be sure that persons like Narendra Modi and Singhal will spring up all over the country.” The only concession he made to Vajpayee was: “If he can decide (to finish off the jihadis), he might.”

Predictably, the only BJP leader Togadia praised was Modi. He said thanks to the “secular” media’s coverage of the Gujarat violence, Modi managed to join the Hindutva pantheon of Singhal and Bal Thackeray.

He lamented the “lack of will” in India to combat terrorism and warned that if this kind of lassitude persisted, the country would be plunged into a civil war. Togadia’s “solutions” included creating a separate financial outlay to fight terrorism over and above the defence budget and banning all Islamic-funded organisations including madarsas.

Stating that “India has been converted into a cantonment of jihad armies and depot of their arms and ammunition”, Togadia asked Muslims to abandon the concepts of “Darus Salam versus Darul Harb”, “kafir (non-believers) versus mommin (faithfuls)” and “jihad versus peaceful co-existence”. Darus Salam preaches submission to God’s desire to establish peace and order for human development while Darul Harb means perpetually defying the Lord’s will.

He cited “precedents” in support of his “appeal” by saying that Islam gave up the idea of a single state and nationality for Muslims with the creation of several Muslim-majority nation states; accepting non-Muslim nation states; rejecting the Sharia legal system in civic matters and opting for a “moderate” one; endorsing written constitutions in place of the Quran; reconciling to modern banking with interest rates; and rejecting the Caliph and allowing democratic or quasi-democratic governance in Muslim nations.

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