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NDA seeks peaceful solution of Ayodhya
BJP, allies to stay united
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 15
In an effort to remain politically relevant and united, the NDA today made the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) agree to commit to the “Constitutional ideal” of secularism and to go for a negotiated settlement of the vexed Ayodhya issue.

A meeting of the alliance leaders, called in the wake of BJP President L. K. Advani’s remarks supporting construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, urged for the intensification of efforts towards a serious and meaningful dialogue to resolve the issue.

Mr George Fernandes, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the BJP President, Mr L.K. Advani, at an NDA meeting in New Delhi on Monday. Mr George Fernandes, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the BJP President, Mr L.K. Advani, at an NDA meeting in New Delhi on Monday.
— A Tribune photograph

Scotching speculation about a split in NDA ranks following BJP’s growing proximity with the Sangh Parivar after its debacle in the Lok Sabha and the Maharashtra Assembly poll, the meeting, presided over by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, presented a united face and resolved to further strengthen the allies.

Mr Advani, his predecessor M. Venkaiah Naidu, party leaders Jaswant Singh and V. K. Malhotra, NDA Convener George Fernandes, JD (U) leaders Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav, S. S. Dhindsa (Akali Dal), Anant Geete (Shiv Sena), Dinesh Trivedi (NTC), A. C. Sethi (BJD) and P. C. Thomas (IFDP) were among those who attended the two-hour meet.

“We continue to hold that the judiciary’s verdict in the matter must be accepted by all. At the same time, considering the delays inherent in our judicial processes, the NDA prefers a negotiated settlement,” a resolution passed at the meeting and read out by Mr Fernandes to media said.

Calling upon the government to take necessary steps to intensify the dialogue, the NDA said: “an early and amicable resolution of the Ayodhya issue will promote national integration and strengthen India socially as no other issue can”.

“The solution to the issue, as well as the process of reaching it, should be such that it meets the aspirations of the majority community, the concerns of the minority community and the interests of national unity, integrity and communal harmony”, the resolution stressed.

Lashing out at the UPA government, it said the coalition had “little to show” for its achievements in the first six months of its existence. “The steep rise in the prices of all essential commodities is proof of the betrayal of its promise to safeguard the interests of the common man”, it said.

When asked about BJP’s stand on Hindutva and whether NDA was in favour of a Ram temple, he said: “This is NDA’s resolution and the BJP is part of NDA”. Meanwhile, BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra told The Tribune that the BJP leaders at the meeting stressed that the arrangement of the NDA was only at the Centre and in Parliament and not in states.

“Therefore, each party in the NDA fold will continue to have its own agenda and whenever the question of governance at the Centre would arise there would be a common minimum programme of the NDA,” he said.

On the Ayodhya issue, Mr Malhotra said the NDA allies were told that the BJP was in favour of a negotiated settlement of the issue or implementation of court verdict.

Turning to Bihar where poll are due early next year, the NDA called upon anti-RJD forces to unite “to emancipate Bihar from the corrupt and anti-people RJD-Congress rule”.

The meeting also expressed concern over the non-issuance of the notice for the coming winter session of Parliament and wanted the Government to act fast.

The NDA leaders also condoled Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The National Democratic Alliance also expressed its serious concern over the government’s decision to consider Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s suggestions on Jammu and Kashmir and said Parliament resolution must not be violated, a UNI report said.

NDA convener George Fernandes and former Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh said the Pakistan proposal cannot over ride the Parliamentary resolution which was passed by all political parties when the NDA was in power.

The NDA parties also asserted that the National Democratic Alliance was the “true alternative” to the contradiction-ridden Congress-Communist combine. The parties today vowed to dedicate themselves to exposing the wrongs of the six-month-old regime “set to take the country on a ruinous path”.

Terming the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati as “unfortunate” the NDA regretted that no thought was given to the guidelines given by courts and other authorities.

“It is unfortunate. He (Shankaracharya) did not deserve that kind of treatment”, George Fernandes told newspersons here when asked about the alliance’ stand on the pontiff’s arrest in a murder case.

Mr Fernandes said he was leaving for Chennai tomorrow and “will try to meet the Shankaracharya”.

Asked whether he would also meet Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, he said, “I have no such plans”.

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