A day before BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi arrives in Kanpur to launch the UP leg of his ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ campaign on October 19, various Sangh parivar constituents, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, are leaving no stone unturned to keep the Hindutva issue alive.
The VHP has announced plans to defy the UP government ban on sankalp sabhas (pledge meets) it plans to hold across the state on October 18, in which the saffron cadres would be required to take a pledge for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
“Come what may, our cadres would take the temple pledge on the day. Let this government showcase its anti-Hindu face all over again,” said Surendra Mishra, convener of Bajrang Dal’s UP and Uttarakhand chapters.
“We are committed to holding pledge meets at 500 places across UP, including Ayodhya. Saints had taken the decision in June 2013 during the meeting of Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal in Haridwar,” he said.
Significantly, Modi’s rally in Kanpur was initially planned on October 15 and later shifted to October 19, ostensibly to avoid holding the rally in the middle of two festivals – Dussehra (October 13) and Bakrid (October 16).
Modi’s rallies in UP would be centre around the theme ‘nationalism and development’ (rashtrawad aur vikas).
BJP sources say this could be part of the plan to let Modi concentrate on development while the rest of the saffron brigade hypes up the Hindutva factor.
Meanwhile, the UP government has banned the entry of VHP leaders in Ayodhya.
Minister of state Pawan Pandey, who is also the Samajwadi Party MLA from Ayodhya, said the government would ensure that ‘communal forces’ weren’t allowed to vitiate the atmosphere.
VHP’s Ayodhya-based spokesman Sharad Sharma said the pledge programme would be undertaken in Ayodhya from 11 am to 2 pm on October 18.
“We merely want to build pressure on the policy makers to get a law enacted for the temple cause during the winter session of Parliament. Till this happens, we would continue to mobilize public opinion on the issue,” Sharma said and wanted to know why the UP government was wasting so much money on security and other paraphernalia.
“October 18 happens to be Valimiki Jayanti too. Now, would the Hindus require permission from this government to offer prayers to Gods? Sharad Purnima, another auspicious day, also falls on October 18. On the day lakhs of devotees annually take bath and offer prayers. How can this government prevent devotees from doing so? How can it prevent anyone from taking the temple pledge,” Mishra asked.