Togadia quits VHP, plans indefinite fast for Hindutva

VS Kokje

VS Kokje

Bringing an end to the Praveen Togadia era, former Himachal Pradesh governor VS Kokje was on Saturday elected as VHP's new global president for which voting was held for the first time in over five decades.

The veteran leader, who served as the VHP global working president since December 2011, announced his decision in a press conference after his nominee to the post of worldwide president of the VHP was defeated in voting, which were the VHP's first elections in over five decades.

Mr. Togadia has held that position since 2011, though he had been the driving force of the organisation since 2003.

Togadia, who had recently alleged attempts to get him eliminated after he disappeared and was found unconscious in an Ahmedabad park, immediately announced an indefinite hunger strike.

Kokje defeated Reddy by bagging 131 votes to 60. Closely associated with the RSS, Mr. Kokje had also been the president of the Bharat Vikas Parishad and the vice-president of the VHP.

Immediately after his election, Kokje pushed out Togadia and nominated a new working president, Alok Kumar.

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He served as the Governor of Himachal Pradesh from 2003 to 2008 and took over as the vice president of VHP in 2014. Togadia had said. "They (the BJP) have neither built the Ram temple nor ushered in development", he had added, flagging joblessness and rural distress under Modi. I was in it for 32 years.

He announced a programme to go on an indefinite fast in Ahmedabad from April 17 to highlight the problems faced by farmers, workers and women.

The effort to oust Togadia was linked to his repeated attacks on Prime Minister Modi.

All this did not sit well with the RSS.

"Hindus all over can clearly see through the dirty political designs in cracking the grand VHP", said Togadia, who has off-late been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP leadership.

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