VHP leader Ashok Sighal with Narendra Modi (File Photo)
As PM Modi gets ready to take oath as the Prime Minister for a second time, it would augur well to recall all those who endorsed Narendra Modi as the right PM candidate in the run-up to the 2014 elections. Senior VHP Leader Shri Ashok Singhal was one of the prominent voices in the country who had backed Modi’s name for the PM’s post.
During 2013, in the run-up to the general elections the subsequent year, many names were being spread in the media for the post of PM. However as soon as Narendra Modi’s name, who was the then Gujarat CM, came up for consideration, many opposed his candidature citing one or the other reason. Some said, he was not ‘secular’ and some said that India’s image will take a hit. It was in such a artificially created anti-Modi narrative that Modi found unequivocal support from Singhal Ji.
It was my first press conference as a journalist. I clearly remember that day at the Constitution Club of India in November 2013. The press conference was held by Bama Ramdev, Subramanian Swamy along with Ashok Singhal ji. The atmosphere was charged given the three important individuals present together. They answered several questions on the occasion. During the conference, one reporter asked a question related to Narendra Modi’s candidature. Ashok Singhal ji without even blinking an eyelid had replied, “Modi Prabhu Ram ka bheja hua doot hai” (Modi is the messenger sent by Prabhu Sri Ram). It became clear as to his preference and since then he stood firmly behind Narendra Modi.
PM Narendra Modi pays his last respects to Ashok Singhal
It can be recalled that when Shri Ashok Singhal ji passed away in November 2015 at the age of 89, PM Modi had condoled his death. “The demise of Ashok Singhal ji is a deep personal loss. He was an institution in himself, whose life was centred around serving the nation,” he had tweeted. The mutual respect and admiration for each other was evident throughout their lives.