Wednesday, March 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Rein in VHP, say allies
T. R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 19
There is a growing feeling in the BJP-led NDA government that VHP activists and other elements of the Sangh Parivar are going out of control and need to be reined in expeditiously.

This has led to greater unease among certain constituents of the Atal Behari Vajpayee government like the Trinamool Congress, Samata party, DMK and Rashtriya Lok Shakti along with the Telegu Desam party which is extending support from outside.

Even as these parties heaved a sign of relief that the threats of the VHP and the Ram Janamabhoomi Nyas had passed off peacefully on March 15 in Ayodhya, they are concerned that serious attempts are under way to undermine democratic institutions and whip up a communal frenzy to pressurise the Vajpayee government on the controversial temple issue.

“Maintaining status quo at Ayodhya has become imperative but targeting democratic institutions is something which cannot be allowed under any circumstances,” observed some agitated leaders.

They are also annoyed with the NDA government’s strategy to bash on regardless with the Bill to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) and the inherent dangers as the proposed law has to be implemented by the state governments.

The argument advanced by the Vajpayee government is that the ongoing protests and vandalism as witnessed in Orissa and elsewhere smacked of frustration and inherent contradictions arising from the isolation of the VHP and the RJN following the March 13 interim order of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya case.

With normality being restored in Ayodhya, VHP activists are veering out of control amid apprehension that this might well be an indication of another parallel organisation in the making. This is proving to be extremely worrisome to the BJP leadership as efforts to find an amicable negotiated settlement among the parties to the dispute has come to nought.

Union Defence Minister’s Samata Party, a frontline constituent of the NDA government, today warned that the country appeared headed for what it described as “irreversible political destabilisation” if the VHP and the RSS were not checked effectively.

The Vajpayee government has been leapfrogging from one crisis to another since it assumed office on the Raisina Hill here. It now faces another major hurdle in the wake of the resolutions of the VHP and RSS that the security of the minorities depended on the goodwill of the majority.

Samata Party spokesperson Shambhu Srivastava said his party had taken the statements of the VHP and the RSS very seriously and indicated that they were keeping their options open about being a part of the Vajpayee government if such tendencies were allowed to grow and vitiate the secular fabric of country.

He said peace and harmony depended upon the goodwill of both majority and minority communities and that every citizen must be accorded safety as enshrined in the Constitution.

He said the Samata Party national executive and national council would be meeting at Vijayawada on April 13 and 14 to decide its future political strategy.

Meanwhile, the DMK is holding its horses till the re-entry of the AIADMK into the NDA fold to make its exit even though it voted in favour of the Prevention of Terrorism Bill in the Lok Sabha. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha is making all the right noises hoping to catch the eye of the top BJP leadership.Back

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