Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has declined an invitation to visit Ayodhya. According to Vishwa Hindu Parishad sources, Mr. Modi’s proposed visit either on Wednesday or Friday is off.
Mr. Modi, recently appointed BJP’s election campaign committee manager, was reportedly invited to attend the ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ to commemorate the 75th birthday of Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, president of Ram Janmabhumi Nyas.
The VHP had claimed that apart from participating in the Mahotsav, the Chief Minister was to offer prayers at the disputed site in Ayodhya. It also said that he would begin the party’s 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign from Ayodhya.
However, on Tuesday VHP sources denied that he was to visit the town, although they admitted that invites had been sent to several political leaders, including Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Mr. Modi.
It is apparent that Mr. Modi does not want to toe the Hindutva line in Uttar Pradesh, where the temple issue has seemingly outlived its utility for the party.
Calls on Advani
B. Muralidhar Reddy reports from New Delhi:
On his maiden visit to New Delhi on Tuesday after he was made head of the BJP’s election campaign committee, the Gujarat Chief Minister called on L.K. Advani in an effort to address the senior leader’s apprehension that the party has been hijacked by leaders with “personal agenda.”
Though no details emerged of the hour-long meeting between Mr. Advani and Mr. Modi, the former’s supporters termed it a “good meeting that ended on a positive note.”
Mr. Modi also spent more than an hour with the ailing former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, at his residence. Among others he visited was the former party president, Murli Manohar Joshi.