Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Thursday blamed "elements with a jihadi mindset" in Uttar Pradesh government for the controversy over its proposed yatra and claimed that the march was a "non-political effort" towards installation of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
"The yatra is a wish of sadhus and sants and nobody, except some elements with a jihadi mindset who occupy key positions in the state government, has any objection to it," VHP patriarch Ashok Singhal told reporters here.
"It has been a cherished desire of Rambhakts to see a temple of the revered deity at the Ramjanmabhoomi. That a temple existed at the so-called disputed site is now a fact accepted by the court of law.
"Naturally, there has been a clamour among devotees to expedite the process of temple construction. The yatra is a completely non-political effort in that direction," Singhal said.
Replying to a query, he said, "It is wrong to assume that Muslims would take exception to the yatra. The Samajwadi Party government is trying to be unnecessarily confrontational".
Asked about the possibility of the issue being used to mobilise support in favour of BJP in the next Lok Sabha polls, Singhal said, "I am ready to reiterate a hundred times that our movement is of the Rambhakts and for the Rambhakts. We are seeking support of no political party".
He, however, cryptically added, "We cannot help it if people associated with a particular political party show sympathy for our movement and end up being voted to power."
Condemning senior SP leader and Cabinet minister Azam Khan for having stated that the recent meeting between Singhal and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav could send "wrong signals", the VHP leader said "meeting people revered by followers of a sect is no crime."
The state government refused permission for VHP's Chaurasi Kos Parikrama yatra to be held from August 25 to September 13 to press for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, saying the Supreme Court had ordered status quo at the disputed site.