Photo caption: VHP leader Praveen Togadia with then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in 2005. File picture.
Days after he stunned political observers with his allegations of a plot being hatched by the Gujarat and Rajasthan police to assassinate him in a ‘fake encounter’, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Praveen Togadia has now dragged Prime Minister Narendra Modi into the controversy.
With JK Bhatt, the joint commissioner of Ahmedabad Police’s Crime branch, having punched holes in Togadia’s claims of him having ‘gone missing’ on Monday following a tip-off about the alleged assassination bid and then being found unconscious before being taken to a hospital in Ahmedabad, the VHP leader has now hinted that the top cop was working under instructions from the Prime Minister himself.
“JK Bhatt has begun hatching a conspiracy against me and harassing our nationalist workers at the behest of political bosses in Delhi. In the last 15 days, how many times has Bhatt spoken with the Prime Minister? Their call details must be made public,” Togadia, the Acting President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, told reporters in Ahmedabad on Thursday. He had been discharged from a private hospital on Wednesday evening.
Once a Modi-confidante, Togadia’s frosty ties with the Prime Minister are now well-known in political circles. As such, his attempt to drag the Prime Minister into the alleged assassination plot should not come as a surprise.
The VHP leader’s fresh salvo at the Gujarat police in general and against Bhatt in particular come in the backdrop of the joint commissioner’s press conference of Tuesday in which the top cop had presented police investigation details to rebut Togadia’s story.
Togadia had reportedly gone “missing” on Monday, only to emerge around 10 hours later from a private hospital. The hard-line Hindutva leader known for his hate-speeches against the Muslim community and his vociferous pitch for building a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya and banning cow slaughter across the country, had claimed that a team of the Rajasthan Police had come looking for him in a 10-year-old case despite there being no instruction from Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje or Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria for this. He had said alleged that his continued campaign for upholding the rights of Hindus and building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, had irked some people who were now hatching a plan to have him eliminated.
The firebrand VHP leader had claimed that the conspiracy to kill him was being hatched jointly by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch and the Rajasthan Police. “I have received communication from Rajasthan that the case in which I was supposed to be arrested was withdrawn in 2015. Then under whose instructions had the police come to arrest me? It appears Bhatt is acting under influence of political bosses in Delhi,” Togadia insinuated.
Referring to Modi as his “old friend”, Togadia urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not take steps that would lead to killing of democracy.
He also threatened to initiate legal action against the Ahmedabad police’s Crime Branch. “Is this a crime branch or conspiracy branch,” Togadia wondered, adding: “Crime Branch is releasing selective videos to television channels to sully my image. I want to tell the country that similar video of Sanjay Joshi (senior RSS-BJP functionary) was made here(in Ahmedabad) in 2005. I shall reveal the names (of those behind this conspiracy and the Sanjay Joshi video) at an appropriate time.”