Long before it was curtains for the long innings of Pravin Togadia in VHP after his candidate lost the first election in the body in 52 years, the famous cancer-surgeon-turned polemical Hindutva ideologue had been engaged in a battle to stay relevant in the wake of antagonism from his friend-turned-foe Narendra Modi.
62-year old Togadia had become a jaded version of his firebrand self in the last few months as many in VHP, the organisation that he had controlled for decades, started turning against him. He levelled charges against unknown people on various counts, from an attempt to eliminate him to hacking of his Twitter account.
The cancer surgeon fought a tough battle for survival after his fallout with Modi. Once close friends who rode on the same scooter in Ahmedabad, the two had differences soon after Modi won the Gujarat election in 2002.
Togadia had campaigned extensively for BJP but after the election Modi dropped his close aide Gordhan Zadaphia, the minister of state for home, from his council of ministers.
Then VHP International Working President Ashok Singhal- who had called Modi Ghazni for razing temples-had mended fences with Modi but Togadia continued his tirade. But Togadia had to move his area of operation out of Gujarat.
Togadia’s strong pro-Hindutva remarks were not in sync with Modi who was trying to reinvent himself for a larger national role.
In December 2011, Togadia replaced Singhal as the international working president of VHP. While the rift between Modi and Togadia grew wider, the latter continued to hold sway over VHP.
Togadia would often claim to reporters that he is in touch with his supporters through social media and that he sends around 50,000 Whatsapp messages at one go. He was also exploring other pastimes, including making different varieties of saladhe claimed to have recipes for a 100 types, in his last days at VHP.
Source: Economic Times