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Our job is to educate people; that we shall continue (Interview with Dr Pravin Togadia)

Our job is to educate people; that we shall continue (Interview with Dr Pravin Togadia)

Author:
Publication: Organiser
Date: February 1, 2004

Introduction: The saints have prepared a Hindu Agenda that will be used to educate Hindus about their political interests. We shall fight for the Hindu cause with the Hindu Agenda, which includes the Ram temple, fraudulent conversions, cow-protection, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus, repeal of Article 370, stopping infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims

International General Secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Dr Pravin Togadia has claimed that the VHP would not canvass for any political party in the coming general elections. "Our job is to educate people as to where the interest of Hindus lies and that we shall do in this election also", he said making it clear that those political parties that neglect Hindu interest would be punished by the Hindu society. In an exclusive interview to Organiser representative Pramod Kumar, the renowned cancer surgeon said, "I am interested in "H" (Hindu politics), nothing less nothing more." Excerpts:

Q.: How do you feel about the outcome of the recent Assembly elections in five States?
A.: Congress has been rejected in all the States except Delhi. It is basically the combined effect of the NDA's performance, Hindu awakening due to the Ram temple movement and the non-performance of the Congress party whenever it was in power. I do not agree that it is totally the victory of the popular demand for development alone. If it were so, why did not the BJP win in Delhi, which is so near to the Central Government? Only the ruling party can claim that development brought victory in elections. It was a State election where Congress was the ruling party. Congress could have claimed that its victory is due to whatever development it achieved. Whether or not to accept its claim has to be decided by the people. The opposition party can only promise development. What was rejected was the rule of the Congress in the three States. There were complex issues in the election. I feel today's politics does not want to bother with ideology. Even if ideology has anything to do with victory, first of all the party has to deliver. Today it has become a fashion to forget ideology and talk of other issues that have little to do with ideology. It is the general trend.

Q.: What do you think about the sudden change in the mindset of Pakistan as evidenced during the recent SAARC summit?
A.: On the eve of the SAARC meeting there was a suicide attack at the Jammu railway station in which two BSF jawans, proceeding on leave, were killed. The day SAARC meeting was to start, there was a fidayeen attack in Jammu. We are concerned with the security of our own people against terrorism and we feel that Pakistan is responsible for terrorism in India. We are concerned with the end result. I wish Pakistan stops all terrorist activities in our country. Otherwise we should act against Pakistan. For the last half century, Pakistan has never responded in a civilised neighbourly manner. We expected peace in Tashkent, in Shimla, in Lahore and in Agra, but in vain. I wonder whether Pakistan can be trusted.

Q.: During the five-year regime of the NDA no solution of the Ram temple could be found. What do you say?
A.: They have not tried hard. Had they tried and failed, we could have appreciated their endeavour. But the Government never undertook a sincere effort. This is what pains us. One can fail only when one tries. The temple has become almost an untouchable issue. It hurts every Hindu.

Q.: Would the VHP cadre support the BJP in the coming elections?
A.: In the past too we did not support any political party. Our role is to educate the people as to where the Hindu interest lies and that we are doing now also. Educating the people might benefit some political parties if they take care of the Hindu interest. And some political parties will be punished, if they ignore Hindu interest. After all, the Hindu society will decide for itself. Our job is to educate the people and that we shall continue to do.

Q.: How will you educate the people?
A.: The saints have prepared a Hindu Agenda that will be used to educate Hindus about their political interests. We shall fight for the Hindu cause with the Hindu Agenda, which includes the Ram temple, fraudulent conversions, cow-protection, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus, repeal of Article 370, stopping infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims, etc. To decide our further course of action the Board of Trustees, the highest decision-making body of the VHP, met in Hyderabad from 15-17 January.

Q.: The Congress and the Left parties are forming a separate alliance. What impact will it have on the elections?
A.: It depends what issues they raise. I am interested in "H" (Hindu politics), nothing less, nothing more. I shall welcome and support any development that champions the cause of the "H" factor in politics.
 


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