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Timing of yatra rooted in politics

The 20-day chaurasi kos yatra is an annual feature of Ayodhya, but this march has earlier been taken out during April.

lucknow Updated: Aug 19, 2013 12:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

As a controversy rages about the timing and the route of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)-sponsored chaurasi (84) kos yatra in Ayodhya between August 25 and September 13, the saffron strategists are busy preparing for a meeting with the district administration officials of Basti, Gonda, Ambedkarnagar and Faizabad.

The police have sounded an alert and deployed adequate force in these districts through which the saints would march for the “temple cause.”

The 20-day chaurasi kos yatra is an annual feature of Ayodhya.

But this march has earlier been taken out during April.

This is the first time the yatra is beginning in August-end, stretching till September.

The VHP is busy ensuring that on each day of the yatra, nearly 250 saints are present, including 50 from outside Ayodhya.

“We plan to carry out a mass mobilisation plan for the temple cause during the period. There is nothing wrong with this. We are seeking cooperation of one and all, including Muslims. Now that even the court has declared Ayodhya, as well as the site as Ram’s birthplace, we want to tell the people that the politicians are still playing foul for narrow vote bank considerations,” says a VHP leader.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s aide Amit Shah, tasked with UP affairs too had assured the VHP of “full cooperation” even though VHP leaders aren’t talking much on the “political implications” of the yatra as of now.

The state government officials are apparently not happy with the VHP plan, for which the various constituents of the Sangh Parivar have been asked to put up a “united show.”

Aware that the ruling Samajwadi Party, whom the saffron brigade has regularly targeted for its alleged minority appeasement policies, holds the key to their August plan, the VHP leaders decided to patch up with SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Ironically, Yadav is someone whom the VHP has always blbamed for the firing on kar sevaks in Ayodhya in the 1990s.

Sources in the VHP said at the Saturday meeting at chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s 5 Kalidas Marg residence, Mulayam suggested that it would be better if the VHP didn’t insist on making major deviations from the yatra-route.

“We would approach the meeting with UP officials with an open mind,” said a VHP source.

Meanwhile, the BJP is tightlipped on the meeting of 11-member delegation of mostlyAyodhya saints with BJP leanings, VHP and some former BJP MPs with Mulayam Singh Yadav.

First Published: Aug 19, 2013 12:06 IST