Bhavnagar, Gujarat: In a series of tweets this morning, Narendra Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, appeared to express firm disapproval of controversial remarks made recently by two leaders, one a member of his party, and the other a senior representative of the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad or VHP.
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Narendra Modi said on Twitter, "Petty statements by those claiming to be BJP's well wishers are deviating the campaign from the issues of development & good governance...I disapprove any such irresponsible statement."
Mr Modi's tweet also seems to underscore the fractious relationship he has shared over recent years with Mr Togadia of the VHP. Both the VHP and the BJP are part of the Sangh Parivar, an umbrella of Hindu nationalist organisations headed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS.
Yesterday, a video of Mr Togadia surfaced in which he counsels a group of people on how to aggressively keep Muslims from buying property in largely Hindu neighbourhoods in Gujarat. Mr Togadia claims his remarks have been misreported.
Last week, Giriraj Singh, a leader of the BJP from Bihar, declared that critics of Mr Modi should be moved to Pakistan, triggering a major political backlash.
BJP chief Rajnath Singh reprimanded Giriraj Singh for his remarks, but the Bihar politician says he stands by them. Today, Giriraj Singh said he was not aware of Mr Modi's tweet and would comment on the matter only in court.
The Election Commission has said it will investigate Mr Togadia's remarks. A police case has been filed against Mr Togadia for his alleged hate comments.
The RSS, which first said on Monday that Mr Togadia's remarks were being misreported, later stressed that it disapproved of any discrimination on religious or caste lines.
Though Mr Togadia was once close to Narendra Modi, they have been estranged since 2002. The Gujarat government, led by Mr Modi, took strong action against some of Mr Togadia's close aides, partly in cases linked to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
In 2008, Mr Togadia openly censured Mr Modi for allegedly allowing the demolition of Hindu temples in the state to facilitate the construction of roads.