Friday, July 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


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BJP to mend fences with VHP
To move resolution on Ram Temple at executive meeting
Satish Misra and Agencies

New Delhi, July 17
In an apparent bid to mend fences with an agitated VHP, the BJP is all set to come out with a resolution on Ayodhya at its National Executive meeting here tomorrow which would reaffirm its commitment to build a Ram temple at the disputed site.

The resolution, being drafted by party General Secretaries Pramod Mahajan and Mukthar Abbas Naqvi, is expected to encompass all aspects of the vexed issue, including the VHP’s demand for a legislation to facilitate construction of the Ram temple, party sources said here.

Deeply aware of the party’s limitations on the temple issue in a coalition government, the resolution is expected to emphasise on a negotiated settlement on the issue, expedition of the court cases, besides expressing the party’s helplessness in bringing a Bill due to insufficient numbers in Parliament and the Supreme Court’s stay on the issue, they said.

Interestingly, the party is not bringing in any political resolution apart from the one on Ayodhya, which would be the first since the 1989 Palampur resolution, where the party resolved to jump headlong into the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.

The coming elections in four states and the Lok Sabha besides, Ms Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin issue and economic sops to powerful agriculturist sections and middle classes, are also likely to be deliberated by the executive members.

While the party has been officially maintaining that the elections would be contested on the NDA government’s achievements and record, it is strongly felt that only a “strong emotive issue” helps the party win elections.

Over 100 participants would assess the cost benefit of the issues like Ms Gandhi’s foreign origin and Ayodhya.

The feedback from the National Executive members would help the party leadership to decide about the timing of the Lok Sabha polls.

Should the general election be held earlier than scheduled and along with the Assembly polls later this year or the Lok Sabha election be held as per schedule is weighing heavily on the minds of the top party leaders, party sources said.

The executive in its political resolution is likely to debate the impact of the decision of the Congress party at Shimla to go in for coalition at the Centre.

While till now, the party has been making light of the issue, saying that the Congress was merely copying the BJP but the fact is that ruling party at the Centre is rather concerned at the development as coming together of the “secular” parties is a potential threat to the NDA.

The pros and cons of the present and future of the NDA would, thus, be a topic of discussion and debate at Raipur.

Though the BJP has, of late, started saying again that the party would stick to its pre-poll alliance but the issue is still to be clinched.

The section, pleading for the BJP’s own manifesto, has been stressing that without a clear stand on the Ram temple in Ayodhya, it would be impossible to motivate and mobilise cadres.

The BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu set the pace for Raipur when he said in Chennai today that the Raipur meeting would take up the issue of legislation for facilitating the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya.

Similarly, the party would also try to clear all doubts on the party’s stand on the women’s reservation issue so that the BJP cannot be accused of backing out of its promise.

At Raipur, the party leadership would willingly be engaging itself in a delicate balancing exercise, which could please the NDA allies and the Sangh parivar elements as well.

It would not be easy and it remains to be seen as to how the BJP manages to meet the obvious contradictions in the Chhattisgarh capital.

Ayodhya: Ruling out more negotiations on the Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi shrines, the VHP today said it would launch a nationwide mass movement if the Centre failed to enact a legislation to hand over the acquired land in Ayodhya to Hindus for construction of Ram temple.

“All doors for a dialogue are close. The meeting of Ayodhya Sant Margdarshak Mandal has unanimously decided that there will be no more negotiations on the Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi shrines,” VHP international president Ashok Singhal said here.

“Hindus are not ready for any kind of compromise on the three shrines,” he said, adding that the saints who attended the meeting had advised the Muslims to withdraw their claim on the three shrines.

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