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Feb 07, 2013 at 01:50pm IST

Kumbh politics: RSS backs VHP's call for Ram temple, JD(U) opposes it

Allahabad: The RSS has defended the VHP's call for a Ram temple at Ayodhya. RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat made the statement at the Maha Kumbh where the VHP Dharma Sansad is expected to come out with a statement renewing its demand for the construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya on Thursday.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad is holding a Dharma Sansad on Thursday after a 2-day meet in Allahabad. Leaders of the VHP say they want a commitment on the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya first from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi before endorsing him as their choice for the Prime Ministerial candidate.

At the Maha Kumbh, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said Ram temple was the priority. "To lay the foundation of Ram Mandir is a matter of our faith and our identity," Bhagwat said. He avoided answering whether he endorses Modi as the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate and simply said, "Modi is my friend."

While VHP leader Ashok Singhal has openly endorsed Modi, many are looking at it as VHP's attempt to build bridges with Modi. But Modi's pet peeve Praveen Togadia, refuses to even take the Gujarat Chief Minister's name in his press interactions. While Singhal compared Modi to Nehru, Togadia said he will not talk about one person or one party.

CNN-IBN has learned that the VHP is unlikely to endorse Narendra Modi as its choice for Prime Minister ahead of the general elections.

BJP ally JD(U), meanwhile, attacked the sangh for bringing up the Ram Mandir issue at the Kumbh and called it an attempt to divert attention. "Today there are temples in every village but the corruption is growing by the day. This is an attempt to divert attention from the burning issues of the country. I do not understand what benefit do they reap by raising this issue before every election," JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari said.