Pravin Togadia launches party with Ram temple promise

Lalmani Verma
Former Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Pravin Togadia launched his new political party Hindusthan Nirman Dal, in New Delhi, Saturday. (Express Photo Amit Mehra)

Alleging The BJP's "Congressikaran" (transformation into Congress), Pravin Togadia, once a firebrand Hindutva leader, on Saturday launched his political party - Hindusthan Nirman Dal (HND) - in New Delhi with a promise to start construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya "within a week of coming to power".

Togadia had quit the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) last year after his confidant Raghav Reddy lost to retired Justice V S Kokje in the election to the post of VHP international president. Since then he has been heading an outfit called the Antar-Rashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP).

"Congressikaran (transformation into the Congress) of the BJP has happened - both in its ideology and by its people… There are Rita Bahugunas in BJP in every state…Congress men are MLAs and ministers in BJP governments in several states, including Uttarakhand, Assam and Uttar Pradesh," Togadia said as he launched his party, referring to the BJP minister in the Uttar Pradesh government, Rita Bahugana Joshi, who was previously in the Congress.

He also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government at the Centre for "not keeping the promises they had made before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections". "At present, BJP is in power - from panchayat to Parliament, but still Ram Temple was not been built in Ayodhya," Togadia said, adding that if he would come to power, construction of Ram temple will begin in Ayodhya within a week.

"Pakistan is taking our fishermen from Gujarat hostage, and our Prime Minister is sharing cake with Pakistan Prime Minister," Togadia added.

He also said that Army will be ordered to "bombard stone-pelters" in Kashmir to end stone-pelting and population control would be ensured by enforcing ban on more than two children.
Togadia had been at loggerheads with the BJP, and after parting ways from the VHP he has been consistently criticising the VHP and Narendra Modi government on the issue of Ram temple.

Togadia said that the BJP lost the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh because they "failed to fulfill the promises they had made". He said that farmers were committing suicide and youths were not getting jobs. He said his party would "not pide votes of any political party but would emerge as an alternative to others". Earlier, his supporters called for making Togadia as the next PM and hailed him as Modi's "alternative".

Togadia, who claimed the post of national president of his party, said that he would field candidates in a majority of the seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Also, it was announced that Togadia will be national president of the party.

Meanwhile, over a dozen police personnel were deployed at a building in Ahmedabad’s Paldi area on Saturday after members of the VHP and AHP entered a heated altercation. While VHP claimed that Togadia's supporters tried to take possession of their headquarters - Dr Vanikar Smarak Bhavan - forcibly and illegally, AHP alleged that VHP members tried to evict them from the building "despite being aware of the court permission to use it as their office".