VHP plans programme to consolidate Hindu vote bank
The VHP leadership feels that conditions in the saffron party are now ideal for its return march to power, reports Hemendra Singh Bartwal.india Updated: Feb 06, 2007 23:22 IST
Happy with Rajnath Singh for steering the BJP back to the Hindutva course, the VHP plans to launch an ambitious village-level programme across the country soon for readying a "solid" Hindu vote bank that, it hopes, would sweep the saffron party back to power in the next Lok Sabha elections.
The VHP leadership feels that conditions in the saffron party are now ideal for its return march to power and has advised Singh to face the challenges from within with a heavy hand.
"We are very satisfied with Rajnath Singh for having put the BJP back on the ideological path...But if he has to lead the party , he must assert his authority and show that he is the leader," VHP secretary general Praveen Togadia said.
His comment has come shortly after the BJP chief's selection of a new team of central office-bearersconveying an impression that he has attempted to downsizeleaders like Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley.
The VHP's action plan for influencing Hindu voters, which is to be unravelled before its supporters at the forthcoming Vishwa Hindu Sammelan (World Hindu Conference) in Allahabad, aims at targetting nearly six lakh villages over atwo- year period before the country goes to general elections in early 2009. In the short run, the plan is expected to give a boost to BJP's prospects in the coming Assembly polls in UP, Uttarakhand and Punjab.
The VHP hopes to attract representatives of about one lakh villages from various states to thethird internationalHindu meetbeing organised by it from February 11 to 13during the ongoing Ardh Kumbh Mela. These are the villages in which units of the Sangh Parivar outift are now active, after a year-long membership drive. Besides, delegates from several countries will attend the meet that will deliberate on major concerns of the Hindu community.
Sources said the VHP is getting ready with as many as two lakh idols of Hindu deity Shri Ram for distribution among the participants who will install them in their villages on returning from the meet. They will be asked to carry back with them the Sangh Parivar's message about the need to vote for candidates who are "sympathetic" to the interests of the Hindu community.
"Our aim is to create a Hindu polity in India, rising above the considerations of individual political parties. We want to exert the pressure of the Hindu vote on all political parties," Togadia explained. He, however, denied that the move was aimed atbenefitting the BJP alone. Other political parties too may stand to gain from the Hindu vote bank if they pay heed to the interests of the majority community, he emphasised.
But Togadia admitted that the Hindutva hype created at the Allahabad meet would generate an atmosphere that was likely to give the BJP an advantage in the UP Assembly polls due before May. Besides, he was confident that the party's prospects of returning to power in Uttarakhand and improving its tally in Punjab, both states going to polls this month, were bright.
Email Hemendra Singh Bartwal: firstname.lastname@example.org
First Published: Feb 06, 2007 23:22 IST