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HVK Archives: Ayodhya back on national agenda

Ayodhya back on national agenda - Organiser

Shyam Khosla ()
21 September 1997

Title: Ayodhya back on national agenda
Author: Shyam Khosla
Publication: Organiser
Date: September 21, 1997

Special Court's order on framing of charges against top leaders of the BJP
and the VHP, including Lal Krishna Advani, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and Ashok
Singhal, in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Baburi Masjid case is likely to bring the
Ayodhya issue back on the top of the national agenda. It may well generate
a national debate on the true contents of nationalist secularism and
communalism. As the debate hots up battle lines will be drawn the
protagonists of cultural nationalism represented by the RSS-BJP-VHP and the
anti-Hindutva forces comprising the Congress, the Janata Dal, the
Communists and the Samajwadi Party.

The Court's order is a Godsend opportunity for those media persons and
political parties that described the demolition of the disputed e at
Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, by an angry, disorganised and frenzied crowd
as a tragedy worse than the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. They have
already launched a tirade against the n brigade. They are talking of a
conspiracy to demolish the structure as their predecessors did in the case
of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination accusing several thousand RSS leaders and
workers of conspiring to kill the Mahatma. The charge was not taken notice
to even by the courts that dealt with the case and was refuted by the
judicial commissions set up by the then Congress Governments.

One need not take notice of highly prejudiced comments in a section of the
English-language newspapers published from Delhi who undeservedly call
themselves national papers. Certain biased commentators have sought to club
Advani and Joshi-who are among the top political leaders of the
country-with criminals to argue that they should not be allowed to contest
elections in the light of the recent fiat of the Election Commission. These
petty-minded commentators in their zeal to tarnish the image of national
leaders failed to differentiate between a criminal case arising out of a
political movement and the one caused by someone's act of moral turpitude
such as corruption, theft or murder.

There is hardly any leader in the entire political spectrum who has not
been convicted by a court in one or the other case arising out of a
political movement for the liberation of the country, farmers' agitation,
students' movement and the like. It cannot be anyone's case that all those
leaders, who were convicted in a criminal case arising out of a political
movement, be debarred from the membership of Parliament or the State
Assemblies. The Election Commission and major political parties have been
pleading for keeping criminals out of elected bodies. But our biased
commentators could not care less for such fine differentiation.

Although the Special Court has decided to frame charges against Advani and
others, the legal luminaries associated with the Ayodhya case are of the
considered opinion that the said order suffers from numerous infirmities.
They point out that there is no material on record to justify the framing
of charges against these leaders for conspiring to demolish the structure.
On the other hand, there are video recordings on record of the court
showing all these leaders, including Ashok Singhal, trying to pacify the
crowd and pleading with them not to take the law in their hands. But the
crowd did not listen to anyone of them.

The RSS and its sister organisations had all along been for the enactment
of a law to remove the disputed structure and handing over the
Ramjanmabhoomi to Hindus for construction of a magnificent temple. Even two
days before the fateful day in December 1992, Prof. Rajendra Singh (Rajju
Bhaiya) had called on the then Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, to urge
him to request the High Court to deliver its judgement on the writ
petitions pending before it. Rao declined to oblige for reasons of his own.
The Congress Government, political parties such as the Janata Dal, the
Samajwadi Party and the Communists who indulged in brazen minorityism, and
the courts, which did not expedite cases and allowed them to linger on for
decades despite public outcry, are equally responsible for the anger,
frustration and frenzy in the Hindu society m general and the crowd
assembled at Ayodhya in particular. They cannot escape the responsibility
for the happenings of December 6, '92.

What will be the political fall-out of the case? Much will depend on how
the BJP responds to the situation. If the soft-liners in the party have
their way and the party takes a defensive posture, the anti-Hindutva forces
may succeed in isolating the party and eating into a section of its
votebank. On the other hand, if the party responds to the situation with
courage and launches an offensive against the forces of minorityism, the
BJP will gain immensely both organisationally and in terms of votes.

The case is bound to generate public interest in the Ayodhya movement,
which has been lying dormant for the past four years and more. It is both
a challenge and an opportunity for the party. The offensive against
minorityism would galvanise the cadres and enable it to make inroads into
other parties' vote-banks.

As the UP episode has shown, appeasement does not pay. Had the UP leaders
of the BJP under pressure from the cadres not taken a no-nonsense stand on
the speakership of the Assembly and told the national leadership that the
party must review its relations with the BSP if the latter did not honour
the six-month old agreement, the BSP supremo would have resorted to more
arm-twisting. Mayawati has now openly targeted Kalyan Singh, for she is
apprehensive that as Chief Minister, Kalyan Singh might make inroads into
the backward and dalit constituencies of the BSP. The BJP has rightly taken
the stand that there would be no compromise on Kalyan Singh's chief

Kanshi Ram and Mayawati are acutely aware of the brittleness of the party
they head. They are genuinely apprehensive that a section of the party MLAs
may desert them once Mayawati steps down from chief ministership. BSP's
options are very limited. If it insists on forcing a chief minister of its
liking, the coalition may break. It will be then for Mulayam Singh to win
over a section of the BSP legislators. That is why Mayawati has mellowed
down. It is for the BJP to go in for the kill.

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