Narendra Modi’s move to act against the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal activists in connection with the vandalism at an India-Pakistan painting exhibition in Ahmedabad last week has earned the wrath of his bete noire, VHP’s international general secretary Pravind Togadia.
Togadia is upset that the BJP’s presumptive prime minister nominee allowed the exhibition in the first place, despite “Pakistan killing Indian armymen on the border” and, then caned VHP leaders protesting the arrest of their men for “vandalising” the art gallery where the exhibition took place.
Togadia said on twitter that the Modi administration was doing this for the sake of votes, for “appeasing Pakistan and injuring Hindus.”
“We all want CongressMukt Bharat. But by displaying Pakistani paintings & injuring Hindus this way? Pak first & then army men & Hindus? Ram” he said, taking a dig at Modi’s slogan for 2014, tagging Rajnath Singh in his post.
Although bitter rivals since Modi became CM in 2002, Togadia isn’t known to attack Modi openly.
As is his style, Modi didn’t respond to Togadia’s taunts but his aides said the police had been clearly instructed to act against violence. BJP insiders say Modi won’t let the VHP mar his image ahead of polls. A few years ago, he had clashed with the VHP over the removal of unauthorised temples.
Togadia’s criticism comes just as central BJP leaders including Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu supported VHP’s yatra in UP, banned by the Akhilesh Yadav government. The yatra is seen as a Sangh Parivar strategy to hype Hindutva before the 2014 polls.