For Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, it was a long and tense day. As details of the Allahabad High Court judgment came in late on Thursday afternoon, he was closeted with political colleagues at 7 Race Course Road. Once the import of the verdict became clear, he convened the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and immediately after that he conferred with members of the Congress Core Group, the party's apex decision-making body — a body that includes Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her Political Secretary, Ahmed Patel.

The two rounds of discussions dwelt on the legal, political and administrative implications of the judgment. Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily was a special invitee to Thursday's CCS meeting to provide a legal perspective.

It was after these two meetings that Dr. Singh issued a public appeal, his second in a fortnight, for peace and tranquillity, in the wake of the court verdict. With the Centre the Receiver of the 66 acres in Ayodhya, Dr. Singh, in his appeal, underscored the fact that “status quo will be maintained” in Ayodhya “until the cases are taken up by the Supreme Court.”

But even as the government was bracing itself for any fallout to the judgment, at the Congress headquarters, media committee chairperson Janardhan Dwivedi, advising circumspection, said the judgment should not be interpreted either as a victory or defeat for any of the parties concerned. Advising people not to celebrate or mourn the verdict, he quoted from a Sanskrit sloka, advising devotees of Ram to follow his example, accepting adversity and good times with equanimity.

Avoiding any direct comment on the judgment, Mr. Dwivedi said, “There are moments in the life of an individual, society and nation, when one's wisdom, wishes, tolerance and reasoning are put to test.”

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