Sadhus, Sants chant Modi-for-PM slogan at Kumbh, RSS chief hints at support
Allahabad/New Delhi: The Sangh Parivar on Thursday broke its silence on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as a potential prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). At the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Dharam Sansad at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, several Sants and Sadhus also echoed the Modi-for-PM slogan. Even more significantly, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat signaled the Sangh’s desire to back the Gujarat Chief Minister for the top job.
A day after the Gujarat Chief Minister virtually launched himself in the national arena, addressing students at Delhi University, far away in Kumbh, there was overwhelming support for Narendra Modi at the Dharam Sansad of the VHP. Though no formal announcement was made by the congregation of saints and religious leaders, it was RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s blessings which assumed political significance.
“People are thinking here who should be the PM, but it is not our prerogative, it is the prerogative of the party…people know what is in their mind, everyone is saying the same thing,” said Mohan Bhagwat.
The Dharam Sansad, though meeting to discuss non-political issues, including Ram Temple and Hindu terror, has this time assumed clear political overtones with a section, led by VHP international president Ashok Singhal, un-equivocally endorsing Narendra Modi’s candidature.
“Narendra Modi has done good work in Gujarat. This model can be replicated elsewhere in the country,” said veteran VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore.
The chorus within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for Modi has been growing as well, even as the pressure from the cadre is apparent. Also, there are those seeking to re-align themselves – Yashwant Sinha to Shatrughan Sinha to Ram Jethmalani – to the extent that party president Rajnath Singh had to issue strict instructions seeking partymen not to comment on the issue of prime ministerial candidate.
“The Chief Minister candidates and the Prime Minister candidates are decided by the central parliamentary board,” said Rajnath Singh.
The party leadership, however, has been trying to calm things down, ostensibly with an eye on allies both present and prospective.