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VHP’s First Election in 52 Years to Decide Pravin Togadia’s Future in RSS's Hindutva Plank

The election on April 14 in Gurugram will seek to end what was left incomplete on December 29 last year when VHP members met in Bhubaneswar to elect the international president but the unusual situation of two contenders emerged.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:April 10, 2018, 8:15 PM IST
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VHP’s First Election in 52 Years to Decide Pravin Togadia’s Future in RSS's Hindutva Plank
File Image of VHP international working president Pravin Togadia. (PTI)
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New Delhi: For the first time in 52 years, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad will hold an election for the post of international president after its members were unable to decide between two contenders through consensus.

The election on April 14 in Gurugram will seek to end what was left incomplete on December 29 last year when VHP members met in Bhubaneswar to elect the international president but the unusual situation of two contenders emerged.

This time too, it would be the same two contenders facing off – the incumbent from Hyderabad, Raghava Reddy, and former Himachal Pradesh governor and MP high court judge Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje.

The rare race will have a bearing on the position of Pravin Togadia, VHP’s international working president, who has emerged as the public face of the organisation over the last several years.

It has also revealed the cracks within the ‘Parishad-Parivar-Party’ conglomerate with regards to Togadia’s relevance in RSSs larger Hindutva agenda.

Togadia will be in the corner of Reddy, who is standing for his third consecutive term. Unlike the international president, which is an elected position, the international working president is nominated by the elected president and Togadia has been nominated by Reddy both times.

Surendra Jain, joint general secretary of VHP said, “Yes, we are having our next elections for the post of International President on April 14 in Gurgaon. Raghava Reddy and VS Kokje are standing for the posts. Last time there was no consensus, we are meeting again to complete the process.”

Speaking to News 18.com, Togadia expressed shock at Kokje’s sudden appearance on Hindutva turf and said that he will back Reddy in elections.

“Reddy, is young, dedicated to Hindutva and was selected by Ashok Singhal. If Kokje gets elected, it is certain I won’t be in the cabinet,” he said.

“It is shocking that a person, who held a constitutional post is standing for the elections of a socio-religious organisation. He retired from government office 20 years ago and did nothing for Hindutva, yet he is standing for the post of International President of VHP.”

According to Togadia, the mounting political pressure on VHP is the reason for the polls. “This is the first time in 52 years that I am seeing race in VHP elections. There is political pressure on VHP to do so,” he said.

At the Bhuveneshwar executive of the VHP last year in December, Togadia had forced a showdown when a section of the RSS pushed for Kokje's candidature. The election was postponed in the face of Togadia nominee Reddy getting support from an overwhelming majority of the executive.
| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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