Allahabad: In a veiled attack on Sangh Parivar activities at the ongoing Maha Kumbh congregation here, Union Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal today denounced "forces furthering their political agenda" at a purely religious event.
"I have come here to take a holy dip in the Sangam and experience the bliss of attending, even if briefly, the Maha Kumbh. However, I have been pained by forces furthering their political agenda at a purely religious and spiritual event. I express my strong denunciation of such an unfortunate attempt," Jaiswal told reporters here.
His remarks came a day after a 'daram sansad' (gathering of religious leaders) by VHP saw participants raising the issue of naming Modi as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate.
The Congress leader refrained from naming the BJP, the RSS or the VHP but when pointedly asked about rumblings within the Sangh Parivar over possible projection of Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate for the next general elections, he quipped "that is what I am driving at".
Asked about a resolution adopted at the Dharm Sansad held at the Kumbh yesterday demanding sacking of Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde over his "Hindu terror" remark, Jaiswal evaded a direct reply and said "the Congress-led UPA government has already made it clear that terror has no religion".
The Union Minister also questioned the propriety of "ubiquitous posters and banners, ostensibly put up to welcome pilgrims and tourists to the city for the Maha Kumbh, but in reality serving as a means of propaganda for the ruling (SP) party in Uttar Pradesh by virtue of highlighting the Chief Minister's image where there was no need".
He also expressed strong dissatisfaction with the arrangements made by the Samajwadi Party government for the ongoing congregation.
"I shudder to imagine the traffic congestion that would be caused by thousands of buses, carrying millions of passengers for the bathing festivals of Mauni Amavasya and Basant Panchmi next week," he said, adding he had purposely travelled by road to ascertain the conditions for pilgrims.