Sunday, July 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

BJP tries to please Sangh Parivar on Ayodhya
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
The BJP today made a conscious effort to please the Sangh Parivar on the highly emotive Ram temple in Ayodhya without rocking the NDA boat.

The separate resolution on Ayodhya, adopted after 90 minutes’ discussion, has not spelt out any concrete steps for solving the contentious problem but has tried a tough balancing act of keeping all options open for the party’s electoral battles.

While on the one hand the resolution on the Ram Janamabhoomi said that the “legislative initiative” alternative should be explored, on the other hand BJP General Secretary Pramod Mahajan ruled out any effort on the part of the Vajpayee government to solicit the support of either its own NDA allies or the opposition.

At the same time, the resolution has described an amicable negotiated settlement as “the best option” for constructing the Ram temple.

A negotiated settlement “would promote communal harmony and national integration. There is a rapidly growing public opinion, in both communities, that this issue should not remain unresolved any longer as it has become a source of contention and tension. Hence, the dialogue process should continue in a spirit of goodwill and mutual understanding”, the resolution said urging “all sections of society to extend their cooperation to the dialogue process”.

Asked if the BJP or the Vajpayee government was going to take a fresh initiative to start negotiations, Mr Mahajan replied in negative saying that “at present we have adopted a resolution”.

“Even though the common agenda of the NDA makes no mention of a legislative initiative to resolve the Ayodhya issue, the BJP is of the view that this alternative should be explored. This is what our party had stated in its Palampur resolution. In Parliament, the legislative approach would be fruitful if our allies in the NDA as well as the parties in the Opposition, especially the Congress, extend their support to it”, the resolution said.

Asked about the BJP-led effort for exploring the legislative option, Mr Mahajan said “the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was doing this and where is the need for the BJP”.

In a nutshell, the resolution has clearly told the Sangh Parivar particularly the VHP that the party was emotionally with it on the issue but the inherent constraints does not permit the BJP to do anything more than “lip service”.

In another resolution on reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures, the BJP has pitched in for increasing the number of seats which in a way could help the party to fulfil its commitment without creating a new controversy or problem.

The BJP is now of the considered view that 33 per cent of the seats in the Lok Sabha be made double-member constituencies. One of the two seats should be reserved for women in these constituencies, which would change on a rotational basis, the resolution said and impressed upon the government to take the necessary initiative in this matter and introduce a suitable constitutional amendment Bill in Parliament at the earliest.

This would increase the total number of members in the Lok Sabha by 181 and the same would happen in state legislatures too.

In another amendment, party constitution, the party has made provisions for creating additional posts of a vice-president, general secretary and a secretary at all levels of the organisation which would enable the party to accommodate more party members.

The number of members in the Executive Council in each morcha (front) has also been increased from 20 to 30 and 40 to 50 resulting in an increase in the number of office-bearers. Through another amendment, the party has decided to increase women’s representation in the organisation at all levels.

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