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Pravin Togadia’s plan to launch new outfit irks RSS

The Sangh Parivar leadership is annoyed by ousted VHP chief Pravin Togadia’s plans to launch a new “religious cum social” activist organisation on June 24

IANS Photo
IANS Photo

Raman Swamy

At a time when the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad are very upset over being labeled as “militant religious organisations” in the CIA world fact-book, the Sangh Parivar leadership is annoyed by ousted VHP chief Pravin Togadia’s plans to launch a new "religious cum social" activist organisation on June 24.

Ever since he was unceremoniously ejected in April from the VHP of which he had been the international working president since 2011, Togadia has been on the radar of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for his irritating, and often bizarre, efforts to whip up support for his proposed parallel Hindutva movement from the numerous fringe outfits and groups which form part of the Sangh Parivar.

Although neither BJP nor RSS leaders expect Togadia to make any significant impact, they are getting exasperated by his capacity to create confusion at the grassroots level particularly among groups of karyakartas in small towns and rural areas who still regard him as a major Hindutva figure who has been associated with the VHP for more than three decades.

What is especially worrying for the BJP is that Togadia, who describes himself as an eminent doctor and cancer specialist, has over the past two months been carrying out a virulent campaign against the BJP government at the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular

Apart from directly participating in the recent farmers agitation in Madhya Pradesh, the ousted VHP chief has been constantly criticising the Narendra Modi government over its "failure" to implement the electoral promises of 2014. His speeches in remote parts of the country invariably harp on the theme of the government’s “betrayal of the trust of people” on various counts.

For instance, according to feedback gathered by the BJP’s observers, he told farmers in Mandsaur: "In 2014, Narendra Modi had promised that he would implement recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission for the welfare of farmers. We had very high hopes from this government. However, nothing concrete was done for farmers. This government has breached farmers' trust by not implementing those recommendations".

Worse, from the BJP’s viewpoint, is his increasing use of social media to spread his “anti-Modi propaganda” to a much wider audience. A week ago, for example, in a jibe obviously directed at Modi, he tweeted: “Then 56 inch and now what are you showing off, Bhai? Own physical fitness? Another 4 BSF men martyred in Pak firing. Since your Ramzan Ceasefire, 27 brave hearts martyred. Farmers in farm and Jawans at borders! Show your fitness in protecting the nation, Bhai. If not now, then when?”

After the decision to clamp Governor’s Rule in J&K, Togadia came out with another barb: “Welcome decision to sever tie up with PDP. Too little too late though. 2500 citizens, more than 27 Jawans, Amarnath Yatris killed past 3 yrs. BJP should apologise for this. Ramzan ceasefire was the most horrific decision”.

This is being viewed in the Modi camp as a persistent strategy intended to lower the dignity of the Prime Minister at a time when the government is facing multiple challenges. What BJP loyalists and brand managers find particularly infuriating is that Pravin Togadia is not just another Opposition party leader who can be countered and discredited.

Within the Parivar there are many who still hold Togadia in high regard. Moreover, his Twitter handle alone has more than 2.5 lakh followers, almost all of them staunch Hindutva activists and workers.

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