VHP yatra a brainchild of Modi, SP played along: Beni Prasad Verma

NtVHP president Ashok Singhal at Lucknow airport after his arrest on Sunday. (PTI)

Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma Sunday dismissed the stopping of the VHP's '84-Kosi Parikrama yatra' and subsequent arrest of several seers, sadhus and others as a votebank "drama concocted by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh."

"The yatra was planned by BJP leader (and Gujarat chief minister) Narendra Modi," Verma said.

Claiming that the Congress leaders in the state were not issuing clear statements on yatra, Verma said he had to come to "the forefront to reveal the match fixing between the BJP and SP", which, according to him, has been continuing since early 90s.

"I am forced to come forward because Congress leaders in the state are giving vague statements on the issue. The entire episode of first bringing the yatra into focus and then stopping it is a drama concocted by BJP and SP. I am not afraid of anyone that is why I speak the truth," the minister said. He alleged that VHP president Ashok Singhal was made to wait at Lucknow Airport and then allowed to appear before the public under a plan.

"If government was so sensitive about stopping these leaders, then they would have sent Singhal back to Delhi rather than creating a drama at the Lucknow Airport. They could have used state plane to deport all these VHP leaders back to Delhi," Verma said.

He warned sadhus in the state to be cautious of the steps taken by the state government and said, "I would ask Sadhus to be cautious because anything can happen to them in the name of vote gain." The minister went to say that that "Muslims are safe in the state. It is sadhu's who should be cautious".

He said that failure of VHP yatra despite best of attempts of BJP and SP, shows that public is not with them."The public has awakened. They know the reality of these parties and that is why their plan could not get expected support," the minister said, adding that "ultimately Congress would gain in the districts, where yatra is planned by VHP —- Faizabad, Gonda, Barabanki, Behraich, Basti and Ambedkarnagar.

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