Monday, August 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

PM: no change in stand on Ayodhya
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, today clarified that there was no change in the government’s stand on the Ayodhya issue. However, the Opposition plans to corner the government on the issue in Parliament tomorrow.

“There is no change in the government’s stand on the temple issue,” Mr Vajpayee told a delegation of BJP leaders at his residence this morning.

One way to resolve the vexed issue is that the two communities should unite to find a solution, the Prime Minister said, adding that “efforts are on in this direction and I am confident that these are moving towards success.”

The other path was that the matter be left to the court and its verdict be acceptable to both sides and “there is no other way,” he said.

The Leader of the Left parties in the Lok Sabha, Mr Somnath Chatterjee, told The Tribune that the party would move an adjournment motion in the House, asking the Prime Minister to clarify the government’s stand on the Ayodhya issue.

He said the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and several other leaders in the presence of Mr Vajpayee, chose a solemn occasion to make such a statement. The CPM would raise the issue in the Rajya Sabha also.

Talking to TNS, the Congress spokesperson, Mr Jaipal Reddy, indicated that the party would support any move on this issue to corner the government.

He said it was unfortunate that Mr Vajpayee chose a funeral as an occasion to make such a controversial statement.

The Prime Minister’s remarks at the funeral of Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas chief Ramchandra Paramhans on Friday that the Mahant’s last wish to see a Ram temple built at Ayodhya would be fulfilled and all obstacles removed sparked off an angry protest.

While Opposition parties, which reacted sharply to the statement, threatened to corner the government on the issue in Parliament, NDA ally DMK leader M Karunanidhi sought a clarification from Mr Vajpayee to dispel doubts on the issue.

Mr Vajpayee said “some criticism is being made on my statement. I want to make it clear that there in no change in our stand. The temple should be built there and we have been saying this but it should be constructed with the cooperation of all.”

Yesterday, people thought that the government’s stand on the issue had changed. “There is no reason for change in the stand. Our stand remains the same, but in a single speech I cannot say everything”, he said.

The Prime Minister said he had expressed his feelings briefly at the condolence meeting of the Mahant after the funeral.

On a sensitive issue like Ayodhya, it was not possible to place all aspects in a single speech and “there was no need for it”, he said.

“However, what appeared in the Press has created some misunderstanding and I am clarifying it”, Mr Vajpayee said, adding that “you should not have any sort of misunderstanding on the issue”.

Senior Delhi BJP leaders, including Mr Sahib Singh Verma and Mr Madan Lal Khurana, had gone in a delegation to the Prime Minister’s house to congratulate him on the formulation of DDA’s Master Guidelines.

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