State VHP leaders, however, refrained form expressing their stand on Togadia's proposed fast.
Kokje got 131 votes and defeated incumbent Raghava Reddy, a close aide of outgoing VHP President Praveen Togadia, who could muster 60 votes. Togadia, however, alleged irregularities in the exercise.
Kokje became the governor of Himachal Pradesh from 2003 to 2008 during the Vajpayee government. "Now we will work with more energy on every issue, including Ram temple", new president V S Kokje said. I was in it for 32 years.
Reacting to Mr. Reddy's defeat, Mr. Togadia, the stormy petrel of the Sangh Parivar, said he was ready to accept "this small defeat" for a "bigger battle for Hindu rights". Soon after quitting, Togadia announced an indefinite fast from Tuesday seeking the welfare of Hindus and to seek construction of Ram Janmbhoomi Temple at Ayodhya, nationwide ban on cow slaughter, enforcement of the common civil code and relocation of displaced Kashmiri Hindus.
Togadia had made a sensational statement last month, claiming that a Rajasthan police team had come here to abduct him and he feared he could be eliminated in a staged encounter. Following the incident, he was admitted to hospital, where among his visitors were Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) chief Hardik Patel and Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia.
Togadia has of late been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP leadership.