Togadia says PM Modi will face "Hindu backlash" in 2019 elections, begins fast

Former VHP leader Pravin Togadia on Tuesday began an indefinite fast here to press his demands, including construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would face a "Hindu backlash" in the general elections if the issues were not settled.

By: | Updated: 17 Apr 2018 10:43 PM
Pravin Togadiya says PM Narendra Modi will face

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Former VHP leader Pravin Togadia

AHMEDABAD: Former VHP leader Pravin Togadia on Tuesday began an indefinite fast here to press his demands, including construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would face a "Hindu backlash" in the general elections if the issues were not settled.

Togadia, 62, alleged the BJP and Modi had "breached the trust" of 100 crore Hindus by "not honouring the promises made ahead of 2014 (polls)".

"Building Ram Mandir was not my demand. It was a demand of the RSS, the Jan Sangh, the BJP and the VHP for several years. When the BJP was not in power, all these outfits had promised Hindus that the temple will be built when our government assumes power.

"At that time, you (Modi) never said that we will follow the order of the Supreme Court," Togadia said, referring to the Ayodhya title suit pending before the apex court.

"You breached the trust of Hindus. Narendra bhai, do not forget that you gained power because Hindus spilled their blood. If promises are not fulfilled in one year, people will give a befitting reply in 2019," he said at the venue of the fast outside the state VHP headquarters in the Paldi area.

Togadia also slammed Modi on imposition of the note ban in 2016, rolling out of the GST, approving 100 per cent FDI in the retail sector and suicides by farmers.

The Hindutva leader, who quit the post of VHP international working president last week after his nominee Raghav Reddy lost a key organisational poll to former Himachal Pradesh governor V S Kokje, launched the fast after 12 noon with some Hindu seers and supporters.

Togadia had earlier said his hunger strike would be aimed at ensuring welfare of Hindus and to draw attention to his demands.

These included construction of a Ram Temple at Ayodhya, a nation-wide ban on cow slaughter, enforcement of the common civil code and resettlement of displaced Kashmiri Pandits.

The surgeon-turned-firebrand leader had launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he quit the VHP, a right-wing outfit with which he had been associated for decades.

Earlier, Togadia was to sit on fast at GMDC Ground, but the police denied permission after which the venue was earlier today shifted to outside the VHP headquarters.

"We were denied permission by the police to go ahead with fast at GMDC Ground so we had to change the venue (located around 5km away)," said former VHP city president Raju Patel.

Togadia said he was thrown out of the VHP becasue he remained stuck to the Hindutva agenda and did not yield to pressure.

He vowed to continue raising various demands and said the people of the country were with him.

Addressing reporters at the venue, Togadia said he would call off the protest only after the Centre comes up with a definitive assurance to enact laws for his demands including construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

He also announced to embark on a pan-India tour as part of his movement to help farmers get better prices for the agri produce.

Modi and Togadia, both of whom hail from Gujarat and started out as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh volunteers, drifted apart in the last decade with Modi's rise.

Togadia had made a sensational claim last month, saying a Rajasthan Police team had come here to "abduct" him and he feared he could be eliminated in a "fake encounter".

During the long-drawn tussle within the state BJP between Modi (before he became PM) and former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, Togadia was believed to have backed the latter. The former VHP leader belongs to the Patel community.

Togadia recently met Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, who had campaigned against the BJP in the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections.

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First Published: 17 Apr 2018 10:43 PM
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