The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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VHP loads Babri ammo for elections

New Delhi, Nov. 12: In a bid to polarise Hindu voters six days before the December 12 Gujarat elections, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad today announced it would celebrate the Babri Masjid demolition anniversary “in a big way” as “victory day”.

All state units have been asked to draw up their programmes for December 6, VHP senior vice-president Acharya Giriraj Kishore said.

Two yatras will be launched from Godhra on November 17 to raise “awareness” among voters. They will end in a grand function at Ahmedabad on December 6, the tenth anniversary of the demolition.

The yatras will be led by Hindu saints and addressed, among others, by hawks Praveen Togadia, Sadhvi Rithambhara and Acharya Dharmedra. International working president Ashok Singhal will address the concluding function.

Kishore termed the Gujarat elections a “test case” for Hindutva forces, but claimed the programme had “nothing to do” with them. The VHP had held a similar awareness campaign in Uttar Pradesh before the February polls.

He also launched a fresh offensive against J.M. Lyngdoh, charging him with adopting “double yardsticks”. Taking exception to the chief election commissioner seeking a report on the yatras, Kishore told a news agency “he (Lyngdoh) is going too far to prove his secular credentials, which has come to be identified with Hindu bashing”.

“Lyngdoh gave his green signal to elections in Jammu and Kashmir despite widespread terrorist activities but here (in Gujarat) he is objecting to a mere yatra of Hindu religious leaders,” he said.

“The VHP is a non-political organisation and everyone has a right to create awareness among their communities,” he said, and questioned why Lyngdoh was not taking note of “political fatwas being issued from mosques”.

Kishore dismissed reports that the VHP had plans to contest 30 seats in Gujarat on BJP tickets as “mischievous and wrong propaganda and a blatant lie to malign” the outfit.

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