Soon after his release from prison on bail on Tuesday on condition that he would not defy the ban on distribution of tridents in Rajasthan, Vishwa Hindu Parishad secretary general Pravin Togadia announced that the programme would continue.
"Trishul, the icon of Lord Shiva, has not been named as such in the notification issued by the Rajasthan government banning the possession, display and distribution of multi-blade weapons. Therefore, the VHP will continue to hold trishul distribution ceremonies in a democratic and constitutional way," Togadia told reporters after his release from the central prison in Ajmer.
Togadia claimed that the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan had hurt Hindu sentiments by branding the trishul a weapon, and would pay a heavy price for it in the assembly election later this year.
But he denied that the VHP programme was being conducted with an eye on the elections. "Trishuls are being distributed over the last 10-12 years," he said. "We have distributed over five lakh tridents not only in Rajasthan, but also in Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Are there any polls in these states?"
On the BJP coming out in support of the VHP on the trishul ban in Rajasthan, he said, "We want even Congress president Sonia Gandhi to be on the side of Hindutva. But it is unfortunate if she has decided to mistreat Hindus by adorning the role of the Muslim League of pre-Partition days. It is for the Congress to decide whether to be on the side of jihadis or trishul."