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BJP back with Ram
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

Nagpur, February 7
The BJP did a major political somersault here today by reintroducing Ram and Ram Mandir, issues it had distanced itself from, only a day earlier, at its national executive here yesterday.

Delivering his inaugural address on the first day of the two-day national council meeting of the party its president Rajnath Singh said, “I feel pained in saying that during these last five years, the government has failed to spare even five minutes for initiating dialogue to resolve the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi dispute,” and added further, “The Government denied the very existence of Maryada Purshottam Bhagwan Ram, something not even foreign rulers had dared to do.”

Rajnath Singh’s statement echoed a similar grouse BJP prime ministerial candidate LK Advani had aired way back in 1992 to justify the Ram Janambhoomi agitation leading to the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.

Today, the whole tone and tenor of the BJP reminded one of the 1990s when the party was riding an upwardly swing on the Ram Mandir wave. BJP general secretary Vijay Goel compering the national council session here today repeatedly raised, “Bolo Shri Ram Chandra ki Jai” and announcing from the dais, “We will never allow Ram to be forgotten.”

Last month the RSS leaders had held a meeting with the BJP leaders at Advani’s residence where they reminded BJP leaders of their commitment to the three core issues of Ram Mandir, Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code and when Advani pleaded helplessness in the larger interest of keeping the NDA alliance intact, RSS leader Mohanrao Bhagwat had pointed out that the allies got drawn to the BJP because it got the numbers and it got the numbers because of its credibility.

The current national council and national executive session has been called to identify the issues to be highlighted for its campaign in the coming general elections. This is on the priority list of the present session’s agenda.

And while discussing the issue all day long yesterday BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy had stressed upon, “A positive campaign, under the experienced leadership of L.K. Advani.”

Earlier, the same day another BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad had sought to distance the party from the Ram Mandir issue and terrorism. He had said, “Ram Mandir is dear to all of us, but Ram Mandir cannot be an election issue in every election.” He had also tried to accuse Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi of whipping up war hysteria against Pakistan, thereby disowning his party’s past campaign against Pakistani terrorism.

Though party leaders refused to elaborate on this sudden reversal of position, significantly three main BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi paid a much-publicised visit to the Sangh headquarters in Nagpur and paid floral tributes early morning. This when neither the RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan and the number two Mohanrao Bhagwat were not there receive them.

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Lord Ram will never forgive them: Congress

New Delhi, February 7
The Congress today slammed the BJP for ‘misusing’ the name of Lord Ram for its electoral gains since 1985.

Reacting to BJP president Rajnath Singh’s statement in Nagpur that his party would build a grand Ram temple in five years if elected to power, AICC spokesman Manish Tewari told mediapersons, “Lord Ram will not forgive the BJP because it has been misusing his name.”

In this context, he said the Sri Ram Sene misbehaved with women in Mangalore in the name of Lord Ram.

In Delhi, the BJP would ‘misuse’ the name of Lord Ram whenever there were elections. — PTI

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