Earlier, backing the Election Commission's decision to ban the yatra and the Gujarat government's refusal of permission to the VHP, Vajpayee had appealed to 'all organisations' to honour the constitutional authority's directive and help the state administration in discharging its duty.
He also disagreed with the BJP's criticism of the EC decision. "On the face of it, the decision might look wrong, but given the circumstances in Gujarat, the ban order is correct," Vajpayee told Aaj Tak.
The prime minister said the events in Godhra and the subsequent communal violence should not be made an election issue.
He asked the parties to concentrate on development issues and not the ones that will inflame passions and vitiate the atmosphere.
Sharply reacting to Vajpayee's statement, VHP international general secretary Pravin Togadia said, "We will go ahead with the yatra to uphold the fundamental rights of Hindu society and are ready to face the consequences."
Addressing newspersons in Ahmedabad after a three-hour long meeting of the top brass of the VHP and Bajrang Dal to discuss the Gujarat government's refusal to grant permission for the yatra, Togadia said, "I expect the prime minister to safeguard the basic fundamental rights of Hindus and not succumb to pressure from secular forces."
Referring to Vajpayee's advice not to make Godhra a poll issue, the VHP leader said, "Godhra is at the heart of Hindutva. It is impossible to forget the gruesome Godhra carnage."
EC ban on VHP rally justified: Vajpayee
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