Lucknow: The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh has taken on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders over the their plan to visit the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. Samajwadi Party leader Ram Kushwaha has threatened to bar BJP leaders from attending the festival for allegedly politicising the Kumbh Mela. "We advise the BJP not to play politics at Kumbh. If they do so, we will stop them," Kushwaha said.
The BJP has hit back asking him to watch his language. "Rajnath Singh visits Kumbh every year for a holy dip. His visit shouldn't be politicised. The talk that Modi will be declared as PM candidate at the Kumbh is untrue," BJP leader Kalraj Mishra said.
BJP President Rajnath Singh took a holy dip at the Maha Kumbh on Wednesday. "I have come here for a spiritual experience, we have not come here to hold political discussions. I have come here to pay my respects to saints," Rajnath SIngh said. Modi is also expected to visit the Maha Kumbh on February 12. This comes amidst growing clamour within the BJP and VHP for making Modi the Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA.
BJP President Rajnath Singh had warned all party leaders to not speculate on the PM candidate and said that any decision on the PM candidate will be taken by the party's central Parliamentary board.
Reacting to Kushwaha's statements, Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said, "Sentiments of crores have been attached with the Kumbh. We condemn if someone is trying to politicise Kumbh and people's sentiments attached with it."
Meanwhile, in Allahabad, the VHP, another affiliate of the Sangh Parivar, held the second day of its meet. VHP leader Ashok Singhal has told CNN-IBN that the excitement around Modi for PM can be equated to the excitement that surrounded Nehru as he became PM for the first time. "When the first election took place the masses wanted Nehru to be PM. After that something like that has never happened. But what I'm seeing now is that masses are nominating Modi to be PM. Something like this has never happened since Nehru," Singhal said.