Amid demand by some Bharatiya Janata Party leaders for projecting Narendra Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal on Wednesday said the Gujarat Chief Minister enjoys the same popularity as that of the first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.
"It is for the first time since the days of Jawahar Lal Nehru when a leader has come to enjoy such a massive popularity across the country," Singhal told reporters in Allahabad at the ongoing Maha Kumbh congregation.
The statement of the former VHP chief came shortly ahead of the proposed visit of BJP national president Rajnath Singh, who is likely to meet senior Sangh Parivar leaders and attend a meeting of the central advisory committee of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Making it clear that the VHP functions according to its 'maryada' (decorum) and 'seema' limitations), he said, "We will not violate peace by engaging ourselves in politics. Our sole concern is the welfare of the Hindu community."
Senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia had on Tuesday ducked queries on the likelihood of theVHP pressing for projection of Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
"I will only say the VHP is committed to helping the Hindus achieve what is their due," he had said when asked about the possibility of VHP pitching for Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
"As stated on a number of occasions, we favour a Hindutvavadi Parliament sensitive to the majority community's needs," the VHP international working president had said.
On Singhal calling Modi "Hindu Hriday Samrat", he said "We are engaged in a collective effort. This is not the time to ponder over personal likes and dislikes".