The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crown prince Togadia inherits battering ram

Pune, Dec. 29: Fresh from the conquest of Gujarat, Praveen Togadia has been anointed the new crown prince of the VHP’s brand of Hindutva.

Togadia’s elevation was the one of the most coherent outcomes of the VHP’s cacophonous weekend conclave here, and the manner in which he was ordained into the pin-up hall signalled how Gujarat has brought about a generational change in the parishad during the second coming of Hindutva.

Ashok Singhal — who elbowed his way for the pedestal during the Ayodhya temple movement of the early nineties — made way for Togadia and led the pantheon of on-stage sadhus in blessing the “architect of the Gujarat triumph and the new Hindu wave”.

“Praveenbhai is the hope of Hindutva,” Singhal told a crowded public meeting.

After the anointment, Singhal and other speakers picked on “secularists” for celebratory fireworks. They called for the social boycott of the “secularists” and the militarisation of Hindus.

At the entrance of the Modern College ground – the venue of the public meeting – Togadia’s framed photos were being sold at Rs 25 apiece. Singhal’s portraits, too, were on sale, but few people lined up for them.

The sants called for an “aar ya paar” (do or die) war against anti-Hindu forces while Singhal said the VHP was ready to abide by the decision the sants and sadhus will take at the dharam sansad in Delhi from February 22 to 25.

Singhal reserved a considerable part of his speech for taunting the “secularists”. “The days of secularism in the country are numbered. Take a pledge to throw the secularists out of this country. Make this your mantra. India is a Hindu rashtra and will remain one. Only traitors will refuse to accept this.”

Drawing a parallel with the Babri masjid demolition, he continued: “We brought down one monument in 1992, now it’s time to raze another monument -- the monument of secularism.”

Singhal did not spare the media either. “I thank our country’s secular media for trying to quell the Hindu fury after Godhra because the more they talked of calm, the Hindu heart cried more. Finally, it was only (Narendra) Modi and Togadia who could quell the raging fever in Hindu hearts,” he said.

When Togadia stood up to speak, he proved a worthy successor to Singhal and whipped the crowd into a frenzy with his acid-drenched potshots.

“We are not interested in Gandhinagar anymore,” Togadia began. “Now we are interested in Cuttack and Attock (in Rawalpindi). Our sights are now fixed on the Red Fort.”

Then it was the turn of the Congress and Sonia Gandhi to be in the line of fire.

“Three types of Ghaznis have done immense damage to the country. They are the jihadi Ghazni, the secularist Ghazni, who protect the jihadis, and the political Ghazni who wants to bring Italy ki beti to the seat of power. If these political Ghaznis want, they won’t think twice about bringing Benazir Bhutto to India,” Togadia said.

Declaring that the Hindu lion has awakened after the Gujarat elections, Togadia said the only thing that the jihadi Ghaznis of India deserve is death by hanging. Echoing Singhal, he added: “For the secular Ghaznis, what I advocate is samuhik bahishkar (social boycott).”

Togadia did not forget Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. Threatening to change the “geography” of Pakistan, the VHP leader said: “We will do a visarjan (immersion) of Mian Musharraf.”

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