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HVK Archives: Hoisted by its own petard

Hoisted by its own petard - Organiser

Posted By Krishnakant Udavant (kkant@bom2.vsnl.net.in)
June 21, 1998

Title: Hoisted by its own petard
Publication: Organiser
Date: June 21, 1998

The problem with today's opposition parties in Parliament is that
apart from their failure to topple the Vajpayee Government there
have been five additions to the BJP-led coalition Government in
the Lok Sabha since the vote of confidence was won by it-they
have to rake up old and irrelevant issues in order to "pin down"
the Government, little realising that they would become counter-

One such "issue" was the carving of pillars for the proposed
temple for Lord Rama at his birthplace. A section of the media
"discovered" this "sensational" fact in its write up and the
"vigilant" Congress and the United Front members seized upon this
story to condemn the BJP, the RSS the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and
the Bajrang Dal.

A very "concerned" Congress President Sonia Gandhi wrote to the
Prime Minister on this issue to which Shri A.B. Vajpayee gave the
reply immediately.

Nevertheless, the Congress party backed by the Leftists and the
so-called United Front repeatedly raised this issue in the

But Home Minister L.K. Advani took the wind out of their sails
by. quoting a letter of the United Front Home Minister, Indrajit
Gupta had written to a former MP, Maulana Asad Madni, on January
24, 1998, which embarrassed the Opposition in no small measure.

Shri Indrajit Gupta had written: "Kindly refer to your letter
dated 22nd August 1997 enclosing a copy of the news report in the
Hindu dated 12th August 1997 wherein it was mentioned that a
temple is taking shape at Ayodhya at the site of the Babri

"I have had the matter examined. No construction activity is
going on at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid site at
Ayodhya. It is a fact that some cutting and carving of stone
pillars is going on in the workshop established by the VHP which
is two kilometres away from the disputed site. Since this
activity per se does not constitute any violation of the law it
would not be possible for the Government of India or the District
Administration to take any action in the matter.

"I would like to assure that in compliance of the Supreme Court
order dated 24-10-1994, status quo is being maintained at the
disputed site."

When this letter was read out in the Lok Sabha, the Opposition
was stunned for a while but they, including Shri Gupta, raised
the issue dim this time activity was going on with renewed vigour
and things like that.

The next day, when this question came up in the Lok Sabha during
the question hour, Shri Gupta in whose name the question stood
along with that of die Muslim League member G.M. Banatwala, was
not present. To the Muslim League Member, Shri Advani replied:
"This Government endorses the stand taken by the Gujral

The issue was taken up in the Rajya Sabha too where Shri Vajay
Kumar Malhotra read out Shri Gupta's letter and "thanked the
Opposition for raising the Ayodhya issue, reminding them that
this was the issue which had helped the BJP raise its strength in
the Lok Sabha from just 2 in December 1984 to 180 plus now.

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