Mangaluru: VHP to hold Samajotsava on Mar 1, Congressman Vijaynath Shetty to preside

Mangaluru, Jan 29: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) will organize a Bruhat Hindu Samajotsava on March 1 at Nehru Maidan as part of its silver jubilee celebrations.

Interestingly, Congressman Vijaynath Vittal Shetty will preside over the Samajotsava.

Addressing a press meet here on Thursday January 29, founder-chairman of Karavali Group of Colleges Ganesh Rao, who will also be part of the event, said that the Samajotsava will begin at 2.30 pm on March 1 with a procession from Dr Ambedkar circle to Nehru Maidan.

“Sadhwi Balika Saraswati Mishra will deliver the main address. Various sages and priests of the Hindu Samaj will take part in the programme. We expect nearly 2 lac people to gather,” Rao said.

Vijaynath Vittal Shetty said, “This is a programme pertaining to Hindutva. We should respect Hinduism. When leaders of VHP approached me to be part of this event, I agreed because I respect Hinduism. I am happy and proud to participate in this programme.”

VHP leader M B Puranik said, “This programme is being organized to promote unity among Hindus. People irrespective of caste, creed and gender will take part. This programme aims to protect the culture, values and heritage of this land. We are not showing any hatred towards anyone. When we are facing injustice, when our values and culture are facing decline, we are putting focussed efforts to protect our religion.

“Our intention is not to hurt anyone or any religion or class. Our only intention is to foster brotherhood and everyone should accept it. It is not our weakness either. We are all equal,” he said.

When reporters reminded him about the provocative speeches at the last Hindu convention in Puttur, Puranik said, “Speakers will be told to stick to a particular framework within which to speak. But if they go beyond limts, we are helpless.”

Ganesh Rao added, “We will follow legal and contitutional law strictly. Law will take its own course if there are any violations. This programme is to protect the culture and heritage of this land.”

On a question regarding VHP’s concept of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (Hindu nation), he said, “Hindu Rashtra means ‘Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavantu’. In this country the majority of the people are Hindus. The law should be same for all. We are all Indians and must respect the Constitution and the law to preserve the essence of this nation.”

Vijaynath Vittal Shetty added, “It is not correct to talk about Hindu Rashtra at this moment, because PM Narendra Modi is expecting the country to grow. It is up to the people to choose Hinduism.

“I am a Hindu first. Hindutva is important, and party (Congress) comes second. It is the greatness of VHP that they invited me despite being a Congressman,” he said.

‘Hindutva first, party secondary’

Asked if Congress was fine with his participation in a VHP programme, Vijaynath Shetty said, “I am a Hindu and my first preference is Hindutva. The party is secondary. VHP is doing the work of promoting Hinduism, and being a Hindu I will support this. I am just a member of the Congress party, so what difference does it make? If I support Hindutva, I am secular.”

Asked if he would join the Bharatiya Hindu Parishad, purported to be a Congress outfit, he said, “I will go if they call me. I am ready to participate in any Hindu programme.”

“Congress was the first political party to invite me as member, so I joined it,” he added.

Jagdeep Suvarna and Jitendra S Kottary were present.