Narendra Modi, Mohan Bhagwat, Ashok Singhal share dais, VHP denies any 'patch-up'
Amid speculation of the BJP trying to 'patch up' with the VHP ahead of the Assembly election, Chief Minister Narendra Modi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and VHP leader Ashok Singhal met on Wednesday at a religious function in a gurukul in Chharodi village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. VHP's firebrand leader Pravin Togadia, who was also expected, did not attend the function.
Ranchodbhai Bharwad, general secretary of the Gujarat VHP, said it was a religious function and the VHP members attended it as guests. "The speculation of the VHP patching up with the BJP has no basis at all," he said.
Mediapersons were not allowed at the function organised by Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha at Swaminarayan Gurukul Vishwavidya Pratishthanam. It is a three-day event and, according to sources, about 100 religious leaders are participating in it. One of the main organisers is said to be Rajkot-based religious guru Parmanandji.
This is the second meeting of Modi and Bhagwat in the last couple of weeks.
The VHP has reportedly been upset about the convictions in the 2002 riot cases, especially that of former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, as also with the Sadbhavana Mission, though it has not gone public.
Sources said so far the VHP leaders have been keeping away from election-related activities but a decision in this regard is awaited.
Phone calls and messages to Togadia remained unanswered.
Among the high profile participants were BJP leader Balbir Punj and Baba Ramdev. The yoga guru left the venue prior to Modi's arrival.