Acharya Satendra Das, the chief priest of the makeshift temple at the dispute site in Ayodhya, alleged that VHP's yatra from here was politically motivated and not religious and that saints were being used for "vested interests".
Das also accused the VHP of going against established Hindu traditions while deciding on the timing of its yatra, a view shared by several local Hindu priests. Some of the priests also felt that if the yatra was allowed to proceed there could be a threat to communal harmony.
"According to Hindu rituals, the 84-Kosi Parikrama is originally held from Chaitra Purnima to Baisakh Navami. It has already been performed by the Sadhus in the correct time and the original 84-Kosi Parikrama is completed.
The VHP by its proposed 84-Kosi Parikrama is trying to start a new tradition which is obviously political and may disturb the communal harmony too," Dev told PTI. The yatra was foiled in a massive crackdown by Uttar Pradesh authorities though it was symbolically inaugurated.
Citing mythology, Das said Lord Rama had halted his yatra for this period of 'chaturmaas' when he was looking for Sita in the jungles as taking any such yatra during August and Deptember is against Hindu traditions. The VHP has proposed to conduct the yatra through six districts from Sunday till September 13.
"The VHP has selected this very period which is against the tenets of religion," Das said.
"As the yatra does not have religious sanctity, sadhus and saints who are devotees of Lord Rama did not come out to take part in it," he said.
"The yatra is not a religious one but a mass contact programme for Ram temple construction," the priest said.
Alleging that VHP's yatra was politically-motivated, he said saints were being used for "vested interests".
"VHP leader Ashok Singhal met SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav but what transpired between them is still a mystery," he said.
Mahant Janmejay Sharan, the chief priest of Janaki Ghat temple said, "We are religious in true sense and don’t support any irreligious call or agitation of VHP, this 84- Kosi Parikrama, that the VHP is adamant to take out has no religious sanctity, Ayodhya Sadhus don’t support it."
Phalahari Baba, an elderly saint of Raj Gopalachari temple of Ayodhya, said the yatra is purely political and has got nothing to do with religion.
Mahant Jugal Kishore Sharan Shastry, the chief priest of Saryu Kunj temple, claimed that in the last 20 years VHP has gradually lost its support in Ayodhya and that the response to its proposed yatra has shown the saffron outfit did not enjoy the support of peace loving Sadhus in the temple town.