Speculations are rife whether the Vishwa Hindu Parishad will endorse Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate at the Maha Kumbh on Thursday.
VHP leader Ashok Singhal on Wednesday has said that Modi enjoys the same popularity as that of the first
Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.
"It is for the first time since the days of Jawahar Lal Nehru when a leader has come to enjoy such a massive popularity across the country," Singhal told reporters at the ongoing Maha Kumbh congregation.
But, senior VHP leader Praveen Togadia had on Tuesday ducked queries on the likelihood of VHP pressing for projection of Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
"I will only say the VHP is committed to helping the Hindus achieve what is their due," he had said when asked about the possibility of VHP pitching for Modi.
"As stated on a number of occasions, we favour a Hindutvavadi Parliament sensitive to the majority community's needs," the VHP international working president had said.
Sources said Modi is yet to make any plans for his appearance at Kumbh, Allahabad, as well as joining the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-backed gathering of sadhus on February 7.
"If at all Modi goes to Kumbh at a later date, it will be for strictly religious reasons," said an aide.
The Janata Dal(U), an NDA ally, questioned the role of sadhus in determining the PM candidate. Its spokesperson, Shivanand Tiwari, said that the BJP should decide the issue in consultation with its allies.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, meanwhile, denied saying in an interview to a Hindi newspaper that the BJP should declare its PM candidate prior to the Lok Sabha polls.
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