In an attempt to bring about a patch-up between the BJP and its estranged former leader Uma Bharti, VHP chief Ashok Singhal has indicated that he will intervene on the saffron party’s behalf to persuade her to withdraw her party candidates from the UP Assembly polls in the interest of consolidating Hindu votes.
Though the BJP leadership does not appear very keen to make any overtures to Bharti, as it does not consider her to be much of a threat, the VHP is eager to prevent any split in the Hindu votes as it is actively involved in working for the party’s success in the crucial election.
At stake in the election is the prestige of BJP president Ranjanath Singh and the party’s chief ministerial candidate Kalyan Singh, both strong favourites of the Sangh Parivar. The Parivar top brass is also of the opinion that the poll outcome, particularly if the BJP plays a role in formation of the next state government, would have a significant bearing on its plans for construction of the Ram Janmbhumi temple in Ayodhya.
Singhal, who recently played an important role in persuading BJP rebel MP Yogi Adityanath not to field his candidates in eastern UP, stated that he would appeal to Bharti, too, on the issue.
"I will definitely appeal to Uma Bharti to withdraw her party candidates if she wants the Hindu votes to remain intact," he stated on his return in New Delhi from a tour of the poll-bound state.
Singhal also issued an appeal to all non-BJP candidates who favoured the interests of the Hindu community to withdraw from the election saying that it was essential to prevent a division of the Hindu vote.
Though he insisted that the VHP was not campaigning for any particular political party, including the BJP, Singhal heaped praise upon Kalyan Singh saying that he sacrificed his government during his earlier tenure as CM for the cause of the Ram temple. People were convinced that if he returned to power in the state, it would be a relief for the Hindu community and would help in early construction of the Ram temple, he asserted.