Kanpur: Samajwadi Party leader Ram Ashrey Kushwaha on Wednesday urged Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to restrict his visit to Allahabad, the venue of Maha Kumbh Mela, as religious and not turn it into a political circus.
"Our Samajwadi Party advises that Narendra Modi should not indulge in any sort of politics during his visit to the Maha Kumbh Mela. If they do so, we will stop them. However he is free to take the blessings of the seers at the religious gathering," Kushwaha told media here.
"Our responsibility is to maintain law and order. Any sort of unnecessary politics by Modi or by his supporters would be not appreciated," he added.
Echoing similar views, Janata Dal United leader Neeraj Kumar added that the country's secular credentials should be upheld.
"Narendra Modi's visit to the Maha Kumbh Mela doesn't make a difference. People visit the religious gathering and we do not have any problem with that. However the country's secularism, social justice should be kept in high regard," said Kumar.
BJP reacts, says talks about Modi being declared as PM candidate at Kumbh untrue
Meanwhile, 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, a report on CNN-IBN 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.
'Modi as popular as Nehru'
On the other hand, VHP leader Ashok Singhal said the Gujarat Chief Minister enjoys the same popularity as that of the first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.
"It is for the first time since the days of Jawahar Lal Nehru when a leader has come to enjoy such a massive popularity across the country," Singhal told reporters here at the ongoing Maha Kumbh congregation.
The statement of the former VHP chief came shortly ahead of the proposed visit of BJP National President Rajnath Singh, who is likely to meet senior Sangh Parivar leaders and attend a meeting of the central advisory committee of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Making it clear that the VHP functions according to its 'maryada' (decorum) and 'seema' (limitations), he said, "We will not violate peace by engaging ourselves in politics. Our sole concern is the welfare of the Hindu community."
Senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia had yesterday ducked queries on the likelihood of VHP pressing for projection of Modi as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate.
"I will only say the VHP is committed to helping the Hindus achieve what is their due," he had said when asked about the possibility of VHP pitching for Modi as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate.
"As stated on a number of occasions, we favour a Hindutvavadi Parliament sensitive to the majority community's needs," the VHP international working president had said.
On Singhal calling Modi "Hindu Hriday Samrat", he said "We are engaged in a collective effort. This is not the time to ponder over personal likes and dislikes".