Pravin Togadia, who recently resigned from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), began his indefinite fast in Ahmedabad, demanding among others construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and enforcement of the common civil code.
The posters and pamphlets of the event, named “Hindu Ahead”, however, did not mention VHP though state VHP chief Kaushik Mehta and general secretary Ranchhod Bharwad were among those sitting with Togadia on the stage that has been put up outside the VHP headquarters at Paldi.
In a scathing attack at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Togadia said: “After 50 years of my life dedicated to the welfare of Hindus, I was thrown out and for what… I didn’t ask for any posts, I didn’t ask for prime ministership…chai ka thaila ya pakoda talne ki karahi nahi manga (I didn’t ask for a bag of tea or pakoda frying vessel)…I was only demanding Ram Mandir, the issue on which he became the prime minister,” Togadia said in his usual inflammatory speech in the presence of over a dozen policemen and around 200 supporters.
Sixty-two-year-old Togadia, who has closely worked with Modi as well as the Sangh Parivar, had to quit the post of VHP international working president last Saturday after his nominee Raghav Reddy lost a key organisational poll held in Gurgaon.
Togadia said: “I have no personal issues with Narendrabhai as he portrays in the public. The only issue I have with him is his silence over making law for constructing the temple. If I wanted posts I would have become the chief minister back in 2001. You (Modi) would not have been the chief minister if I had issues with you.”
He also said that “Narendrabhai says the government will follow the court order. Was there any court order when the movement was started in 1982? Does he remember that Advaniji took out the Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya? Where was the court in 1992 when the mosque was demolished…”
Togadia is also demanding a nation-wide ban on cow slaughter and resettlement of displaced Kashmiri Pandits. He said “this is the first time that the prime minister who rose to power due to Hindus has branded gau rakshaks as goons.”
Police said no permission has been given to Togadia to hold the fast in full public view. Earlier, the event was to be held at GMDC Ground but the venue was later changed.
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