Unmindful of the likely impact on potential and future alliances in an election year, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday flayed the Akhilesh Yadav government for banning a yatra planned by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad from Ayodhya.

“Let's see what the VHP is going to do. It is a democratic country. Permission should be given and precautions can be taken. They can be given needed guidelines also. There are lots of yatras going around in the country. How do you prevent one particular community from taking out a yatra?” asked BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu.

Saints’ parikrama (pilgrimage) involved the right to religious freedom and the state should not prevent them, the party said.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is more forthright in taking on the Akhilesh Yadav government. “The U.P. government’s move is unjustified and uncalled-for. Government has no right to create hurdles to a religious programme. It is purely motivated by consideration of vote-bank politics,” RSS leader Ram Madhav said.

The U.P. government denied permission for the Chaurasi Kos Yatra scheduled for August 25-September 13 but the VHP has said it will go ahead with the yatra.

JD(U) criticises Singhal

The Janata Dal (United), a BJP ally till recently, castigated VHP leader Ashok Singhal’s threat and said the BJP could not capitalise on the Ayodhya issue again.

Party president Sharad Yadav said: “Who is majority and who is minority in this country? There are lakhs and lakhs of castes in all communities.”