Pravin Togadia, who recently quit the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) after his aide Raghav Reddy lost an organisational poll in Gurgaon, began his indefinite fast on Tuesday demanding construction of Ram Temple and enforcement of common civil code in the presence of several VHP leaders. While pamphlets and posters of the event titled ‘Hindu Ahead’ did not mention VHP, state VHP chief Kaushik Mehta and general secretary Ranchhod Bharwad were seated next to Togadia.
Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Togadia said, “After 50 years of my life dedicated to the welfare of Hindus, I was thrown out and for what…I didn’t ask for any posts, I didn’t ask for prime ministership…chai ka thela ya pakoda talne ki karahi nahi manga (I didn’t ask for a tea stall or a pakoda frying vessel)…I was only demanding Ram mandir, the issue on which he became the prime minister.” Among his other demands, Togadia is seeking a nation-wide ban on cow slaughter and resettlement of displaced Kashmiri pandits.
According to the police, Togadia was not granted a permission to hold the fast in full public view. The former VHP chief is now sitting on his fast outside the VHP headquarters in Paldi in the presence of over a dozen policemen and around 200 supporters. Senior BJP leader Surendra Patel and several former RSS leaders visited Togadia, including former secretary of the Ahmedabad unit of VHP, Raju Patel.