Ahmedabad: The VHP will declare Gujarat a 'Hindu state' by 2015 besides having its presence in all 18,000 villages of the state in the next two years, the outfit's leader Pravin Togadia claimed on Sunday. "In two years, the VHP will have a presence in all 18,000 villages of Gujarat and by 2015, we will declare Gujarat a Hindu state," VHP's international working president Pravin Togadia told VHP followers who gathered here for a 'Hindu Sangam' event.
The event was organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to launch a new movement called 'Hindu Ahead, for Hindu Security and Prosperity', which aims to reach out to Hindus in villages, towns, cities and tribal areas. Invoking the issue of the "insecure Hindu", Togadia said, "To protect and prosper, Hindus themselves have to gear up, by becoming true practicing Hindus, aware Hindus and active Hindus".
The absence of Narendra Modi at the function was conspicuous though the VHP organised the event in the area which falls in the Gujarat Chief Minister's constituency. In the past, the Gujarat VHP has been at loggerheads with Modi over a range of issues including demolition of illegal temples in Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad.
The VHP, through its 'Hindu Sangam' announced plans for the resurrection of the organisation, which would celebrate 50 years of its inception in 2014. Raising the issue of Ram Mandir, Togadia said, "Unless and until we will become Hindus, not only by our behaviour, but with our practice and awareness, only then will our dream of building Ram Mandir at Ayodhya be fulfilled."
VHP's joint organisational secretary Vinayakrao Deshpande talked about dwindling support for the outfit in Gujarat. He mentioned that 10 years ago there were more than 10,000 committees in the state which has come down to 6,000 at present. "We will have to bring that to 10,000 by this year end," Deshpande said.
Jagruti Pandya, wife of former Gujarat Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya, was also present at the gathering along with some Gujarat Parivarta Party (GPP) members. Meanwhile, former VHP leader Atul Vaidya - one of the accused in the Gulberg massacre case - alleged that Togadia had "ignored" them for all these years. "VHP workers who were made accused in rioting cases have been passing through social and financial problems. Where was Togadia during all these years? He is spending lakhs of rupees for this 'Hindu Sangam' but he didn't have money to support us," Vaidya said earlier in the day.