In a setback to Pravin Togadia, retired justice V S Kokje defeated his confidant Raghav Reddy to be elected as Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) international president, in a secret ballot conducted here on Saturday.
Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje was born at Dahi village in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh on September 6, 1939. He completed his schooling in Dhar, graduation (in mathematics, Statistics and Economics) from Indore’s Holkar College and LLB from Government Arts and Commerce College, Indore. He did his post graduation in Sociology from Christian College, Indore, and started practising law in 1964.
Practised law for 26 years before being appointed a judge of MP High Court in 1990. He was transferred to Rajasthan high court in 1994 and worked as an administrative judge for next four years. He was the acting chief justice of Rajasthan High Court for 11 months and retired in 2001. He chaired the commission of inquiry into the death of Jain Muni Lokendra Vijay, who was accused of rape and later committed suicide.
VHP office-bearer Surendra Jain told The Indian Express that Kokje was with the RSS and quit his post before his appointment as the Governor of Himachal Pradesh in 2003.
From April 2012 to March 2014 he was all-India president of Bharat Vikas Parishad. For last three years, he was vice-president of VHP. Indore-based senior advocate Ashok Chitale describes Kokje as ‘self-made and upright.’ “He was the lawyer of underdogs,” the senior lawyer said of Kokje who treats Lok Sabha speaker and MP from Indore Sumitra Mahajan as “rakhi sister.” “He and his family suffered for his political affiliations at one point but he also benefited because of his affiliation,’’ Chitale said.
Kokje was one of the governors who went on to complete their terms as governor despite the change of dispensation at the Centre in 2004.