Sangh closes ranks: BJP, RSS, VHP talk politics, Ram temple

Top BJP, RSS and VHP leaders on Thursday held deliberations on the "political situation" in the country and the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The meeting was seen as an attempt to increase cohesion among the Sangh Parivar and close ranks against the Congress-led UPA government.

BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Murli Manohar Joshi, Ramlal, RSS functionaries Bhaiyaji Joshi and Suresh Soni held closed door meeting with VHP leaders Ashok Singhal, Pravin Togadia, Champat Rai and Dinesh Chandra at the residence of MP Sripad Yesso Naik here.

The meeting came ahead of the congregation of religious leaders organised by the VHP in the Kumbh at Allahabad where the group is likely to reassert its commitment to build a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya. "The Ram temple issue was discussed," said a source. The BJP reiterated its commitment towards building Ram temple at Ayodhya. "Let me remind you that the BJP had adopted a resolution on Ram temple at the meeting of its national executive at Palampur in 1989. This remains the demand of crores of Hindus," party spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told reporters.

The meeting holds significance as it was organised after a long gap, as one of the participants claimed, in an apparent attempt to "team up" for "political challenges" before the country. "No individual or party was discussed. The meeting was about the larger political situation and how to deal with it. It was a brainstorming session," confided a participant.

However, BJP president Rajnath Singh downplayed the meeting. "It was a normal meeting. We did not have any political discussion," he said. Leaders indicated that the three sides "exchanged notes" for "ironing out creases" among the Parivar ahead of Assembly elections later this year and Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

VHP leaders were learnt to have raised objections to Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's remarks on 'Hindu terror' and the Communal Violence Bill.

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