Modi to skip VHP meet but will attend Kumbh | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Modi to skip VHP meet but will attend Kumbh

delhi Updated: Feb 05, 2013 10:29 IST
Shekhar Iyer

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi won't be lured by the talk of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to announce support for his candidature for the prime minister's post to share dais with them at their gathering at the Kumbh at Allahabad on February 6-7, sources close to him said.

Modi would rather steer clear of such platform but undertake his visit to the largest gathering of Hindu pilgrims purely as a "religious exercise rather than a political one" at a later date, around mid-February.

Already enjoying the image of a strong Hindutva leader, Modi is known to be wary of most VHP leaders like Pravin Togadia. Modi would prefer to make his political message when he interacts with the youth, as he proposed to do so at Delhi's Sri Ram College of Commerce on February 6, rather than at a congregation of sadhus, the sources said.

Nevertheless, Modi will visit the Kumbh like other political leaders. He has visited such gatherings earlier, once in 12 years, and offered his prayers, sources said.

Modi wishes to keep focus on his model of governance as his USP, which has borne political dividend in his state and remains his bet in the race for the top slot, sources added.

Led by VHP leader Ashok Singhal, the Hindu leaders have indicated that the two-day meeting of seers and sadhus at the Kumbh may take a call on whether or not to support him as BJP's candidate for prime ministership.

But, sources close to Modi said he would let the "sant samaj (the order of monks) to decide their course of action on various issues" as they wanted to and he would go about his task as planned earlier.

However, BJP president Rajnath Singh would be present for the VHP meeting on Feb 6, which was confirmed by Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpayi.