The VHP president Ashok Singhal and BJP leader RV Vedanti had also met Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and UP's chief minister Akhilesh Yadav seeking permission for the pilgrimage. But, the meet could not break the ice.
Now, the VHP is stepping up pressure on the Akhilesh Yadav's government. On Wednesday, the VHP spokesperson said, "The SP government in UP and the UPA government at the Centre must not try to antagonize the saints on the issue of the 20-day padyatra (foot-march), which is essence of this pilgrimage."
With two sides hardening their stance on the issue, the BJP has jumped into the ring. Once firebrand but now a little bit sedate BJP leader Vinay Katiyar has criticized the UP government for denying permission to the VHP padyatra.
Katiyar said, "The pilgrimage has never been stopped by any government. The decision of the Akhilesh Yadav government is self-destructive." However, the BJP leader denied that the party is trying to take some political mileage of an essentially religious issue.
At the same time, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has accused the SP government of double-speak for vote bank politics. RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said while the UP government is giving guarantee of twenty percent share to minorities in all welfare schemes but denying the majority the permission to carry out a pilgrimage.
But, the UP government seems unrelenting. Senior SP leader Naresh Agarwal said that if the VHP-BJP combine defy the administration, strict action would be taken.
"This is political pilgrimage of the VHP in coordination with the BJP," said Agarwal adding that the VHP and the BJP were trying to disturb the law and order situation in the state.