The Vishwa Hindu Parishad will hold its first election in 52 years as it failed to reach a consensus on who will take over as the president of the organisation. The election will be held in Gurugram on April 14.
On December 29, the organisation met in Bhubaneswar to chose the president, but could not decide between two contenders. Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje, a former Himachal Pradesh governor and former Madhya Pradesh High Court judge challenged the incumbent Raghav Reddy. “Our first effort was to reach a consensus but when it didn’t happen, we decided to hold the election,” said VHP Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain.
The outcome of the election will not only affect the structure of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, but also the influence its international working president Pravin Togadia wields over the organisation, The Times of India reported.
While Reddy is a supporter of Togadia, those in the know said Kokje has the support of rival factions upset with Togadia’s frequent criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The presidents of the organisation chose the international working president, News18 reported.
Togadia said Reddy is “young and dedicated to Hindutva”, and added that he was “certain he will not be in the cabinet” if Kokje gets elected.
“It is shocking that a person who held a constitutional post is standing for the elections of a socio-religious organisation,” Togadia told News18. “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.”
Togadia added that there was political pressure on the VHP and that he would resign as the international working president if Reddy loses. “This is the first time in 52 years that I am seeing a race in VHP elections. There is political pressure on VHP to do so.”