It is less relevant here whether Togadia tried to serve as spoiler for the BJP in the recent assembly polls. Whether he wanted to see a Congress win in Gujarat with desperate elements like Hardik, Jignesh and Alpesh is anybody's guess. But the fact that Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia openly rushed to the hospital yesterday to sympathise and support with Togadia's tirade against the BJP state government speaks volumes on opportunism at its worst. How could the Congress accept Togadia who is considered the most virulent crusader for a rabid Hindutva stance? If the Congress has a liaison with Togadia to oppose the BJP, then what about its tall claims of fighting Hindutva to save secularism? Togadia too has exposed his personal pique, joining hands with a party which he always characterized as anti-Hindu. Strange are the ways in politics.
Togadia's cadre support in VHP was never in doubt. He proved it in the recent VHP conference in Bhubaneshwar when he got his panel handsomely elected against the official panel. The VHP is not entirely made up of the Sangh Parivaar. It is a wider platform of Hindu-minded saints, religious heads and individuals. It need not and may not always take the Sangh line.
It is not clear why Togadia, a veteran of many battles, chose to make public his marginalization in the organization he heads. It is said that a strong segment within the VHP which is not enamoured of Togadia's latest moves want him out. At a time when the BJP is on the ascent, nobody wants Togadia's personal problems with some leaders in the party to damage its image. The Sangh Parivaar has never entertained leaders who tried to drag the organization into personal ego issues. It looks like the present controversy triggered by Togadia himself is mostly his own creation.
The provocation could be the fact that the VHP leader could not get much support for his alleged hobnobbing with individuals diametrically opposed to the organization's ideology. Congress leaders in Gujarat may not be the right choice for Togadia to wage an inner party power struggle. That of late, the Congress is experimenting with temple-going Hindutva line is no consolation. Many see this as a wolf in sheep's clothing.
The Sangh organizational network has always been monolithic. It has presented a united front which has been its strength. When Togadia addressed the press yesterday alleging that some people want to kill him and that he is a victim of the centre's vendetta, he lost many friends within his outfit. Everyone knows that Togadia enjoys Z-Plus security cover. He has enemies. He led many agitations. He was closely associated with the Ram Janmabhumi movement. He was known as a close associate of the late and revered Singhal. And he has made a name for making provocative statements aimed to hit headlines. His tirades against Christian and Muslim outfits, though often justified, have not been in good form. All these are bound to trigger a threat to his life.
From time to time, Togadia has tried to keep the Ram Mandir fire simmering with an eye on headlines and embarrassing the government. Of late, he has become impatient and critical of the government though he is well aware that any progress in the matter is possible only with judicial sanction. In these efforts, he was often lucky to get Subramanian Swamy on his side, since he too has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. There are people who believe stoking the temple fire now has more to do with putting BJP governments into jeopardy that the real desire for Ram Mandir.
(Dr R. Balashankar is Member, BJP Central Committee on Training, and Committee on Publications and former Convener BJP National Intellectual Cell and former Editor Organiser.)
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