Friday, February 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

BJP, RSS join hands
Sangh Parivar to rein in VHP
Tribune News Service and agencies

New Delhi, February 13
Amidst growing stridency in the views of the VHP, a meeting of the top leaders of the RSS and the BJP today decided not to publicly express divergent views on crucial issues like Ayodhya with the Sangh Parivar fountainhead taking on the responsibility of advising the VHP to exercise restraint.

The meeting, which was a follow up to the one held between Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and RSS Chief K S Sudarshan late last year, decided to have regular interaction so that there was convergence of opinion on controversial issues, sources said.

“It was felt that a mechanism be evolved among the Parivar organisations to ensure that their relations are smooth and no friction takes place,” BJP sources said.

The 80-minute meeting at the RSS headquarters here discussed organisational matters including deputation of RSS activists to the BJP, specially in view of the coming Assembly elections later this year as also the Lok Sabha elections slated for next year, the sources said.

Apparently irked by VHP firebrand leader Praveen Togadia’s aggressive postures on Ayodhya and Iraq against the government, BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu urged RSS General Secretary Mohan Bhagwat to restrain VHP leaders from ‘vitiating the atmosphere’, to pave the way for the construction of the Ram Temple, the sources said.

It was also decided to revamp the BJP units ahead of the elections with deputations from the RSS, they said, adding that the exercise would be undertaken after the RSS General Council meeting at Nagpur from March 6 to be attended by Mr Naidu and party General Secretary Sanjay Joshi.

The meeting at the RSS headquarters here came within two days of Togadia demanding disputed land at Ayodhya, going beyond its earlier claim to only the undisputed area and asking the government to support the USA in its war against Iraq.

Besides Bhagwat, the RSS was represented at the meeting by Joint General Secretary-in-charge of BJP, Madan Das Devi and joint spokesman Ram Madhav, the BJP team, led by Mr Naidu, included the five General Secretaries Pramod Mahajan, Sanjay Joshi, Rajnath Singh, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Anita Arya.

“We totally agree with the VHP on building a grand temple for Ram Lalla at Ayodhya. We only differ on the mechanism and the timeframe and these can be sorted out,” Mr Mahajan told reporters after the meeting.

Mr Madhav said even the Opposition parties had not raised serious objections to the government’s petition in the apex court. “Against this backdrop, there is no justification for the VHP to make confrontationist statements. On the contrary, they must exercise restraint,” he said.

While Mr Mahajan said the VHP should not make any statement which would create fissure in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre.

“Following the talks, VHP Vice-President Acharya Giriraj Kishore clarified that Mr Togadia’s views on Iraq were his personal opinion and did not amount to the outfit’s offical stand.”

AYODHYA: The VHP today warned the Centre that if the undisputed site here was not handed over to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, it would be forced to adopt tough measures.

VHP Working President Ashok Singhal on Thursday said the undisputed site was currently under the control of the Centre and it had no right to keep the land. The Centre should hand over the land to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, failing which the sants and VHP would be forced to take harsh decisions at the World Hindu Conference to be held at Gorakhpur soon, he added.


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