An encounter with Pravin Togadia’s irony

Pravin Togadia with (R) Narendra Modi. Image credit: The Financial Express

–Soroor Ahmed

It is an irony of a sort. The president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad Dr Pravin Togadia, who would never miss an opportunity to heap blames on Muslims, Christians and secular elements in the society for the plight of Hindus, is now accusing none else but the fellow brothers within the Sangh Parivar of plotting an encounter to get rid of him.

Though the 61-year old leader, who has more than four decades long association with the RSS, BJP and VHP, did not directly name anyone it was clear as to whom he was aiming at.

Even if there is an iota of truth in his allegation the charges levelled by him is very serious. If he is to be believed there are certain elements within the Parivar who wants to eliminate the leader of the biggest global organization of Hindus––the VHP.

Obviously, he was not blaming the Congressmen, Communists, secularists or Muslims. Had they been the target of his ire he would have named them.

If what Togadia is saying is true then it can be said that the Parivar to which he belongs do not tolerate any disagreement or dissent. If they can really liquidate a person who is the top most leader of the VHP then they can do anything to their political opponents.

If what Togadia had charged is wrong and baseless then it means that even the top leaders of the Hindutva brigade can go to any extent in hurling allegations against anyone––even against their own comrades.

The mystifying silence of the BJP and the friendly TV anchors had exposed them once more. Had in place of Togadia any leader of rival political party levelled such a charge the Hindutva spokespersons and their hosts in studios would have screamed like anything.

An analysis of the politics of Gujarat would reveal that Pravin Togadia, along with Narendra Modi, Keshubhai Patel and Shankarsinh Vaghela were the four pillars of the Bharatiya Janata Party. They were close to each other. The credit for building the organizations in the state during those heydays of Ram Janambhoomi movement and even after that goes to them.

Gradually they fell apart. More than ideological factors, personal ambition, competitiveness and jealousy played more important role.

Vaghela and Patel even deserted the BJP but Togadia went to become the president of the VHP, an organization which has a big presence even outside India.

Togadia-Modi differences started emerging after the 2002 Assembly election itself. The then Gujarat chief minister thought that Togadia was becoming too big for his boots. So once he became powerful Modi tried to cut him to size. However, by 2011 the latter managed to become the president of the VHP. To outsmart Modi he adopted a more hardline posture.

With Vaghela and Patel marginalized Modi was left with just Togadia as a big challenger within Gujarat politics.

However, the relationship between the two got further strained after Modi became the Prime Minister of the country.

Togadia might have been exaggerating the whole story, but there is no dearth of people within the BJP and Sangh Parivar who concede that there are serious differences between the two former friends.

Anyway the January 15-16 incident in Ahmedabad once again exposed the seamier and darker side of Hindutva politics.

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