Thursday, May 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

BJP for mosque at temple’s side
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

Rampur (UP) May 28
Lashing out at the Congress for treating minorities as a vote bank, the BJP today charged the main opposition party with adopting double standards on the Ayodhya issue. It advocated the construction of a mosque adjacent to the Ram temple in Ayodhya and reservation for the economically most backward among the upper castes.

“The party (Congress) which had opened the locks of Ayodhya is now adopting double standards on the issue. A debate on whether there existed a Ram temple or not is frivolous as the entire world knows that the birthplace of Lord Ram is Ayodhya. We want that a Ram temple be constructed at the disputed site and a mosque by its side,” BJP president Venkaiah Naidu said while addressing a well-attended samarasta (harmony) rally here.

However, he added, that the BJP was not in favour of thrusting its agenda on others as it was leading a coalition government. “We do not want to force our agenda on the others. We do not want the construction of the temple in Ayodhya by force. It would be good if we can find an amicable solution through dialogue or we will have to wait for the court verdict”, he said.

The rally organised to carry forward the Nagpur message to widen the base of the party was attended, among others, by union ministers Rajnath Singh and Shatrughan Sinha and UP BJP unit president Vinay Katiyar.

It was organised on behalf of the party by BJP general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who had won the Lok Sabha elections from here in 1998, but lost in 1999.

In a forceful appeal to the minority community, the BJP president asked the minority community to join the party and carve out a greater share in the elected bodies .

Cautioning the minority community against being used as a vote bank by the opposition parties, particularly the Congress, Mr Naidu urged it to come closer to the BJP which, he said, had in the past five years’ rule been instrumental in implementing several developmental programmes for them.

He assured that there would be no discrimination against them in the party.

Asserting that communal harmony and peace was paramount for development, the BJP chief assured that the party would like to carry forward all people, irrespective of caste, creed and religion.

Listing various achievements of the Vajpayee government, Mr Naidu hailed Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s initiative of extending friendship to Pakistan and asserted that Islamabad must stop abetting terrorism before the resumption of talks.

“If it (Pakistan) does not stop perpetuating terrorism, we will crush it on our own,” he said, maintaining that under Mr Vajpayee’s leadership, the country’s image in the global community had gone up.

Earlier, Union Agriculture Minister Rajnath Singh spoke of his days as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and his initiative to extend reservation to the most backward castes in the state and said those who were opposed to it had got a stay order from the court.

“But I assure you that we will not rest until reservation in government jobs for the MBCs has been ensured”, he said.

On the issue of non-payment to sugarcane growers in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Rajnath Singh said he would talk to Chief Minister Mayawati and Mr Vajpayee on the issue.

Attacking the Congress and its President Sonia Gandhi, he said the party has been trying to make a foreigner Prime Minister. “We can accept Ms Sonia Gandhi as “bahu” (daughter-in-law) but not as the ruler of the nation. We can’t allow a foreigner to rule our country at any cost,” he asserted.

Hailing Mr Vajpayee’s leadership, Mr Rajnath Singh said by extending friendship to Pakistan, the Prime Minister has demonstrated to the world community that India had never waged a war on its own.


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