The Bharatiya Janata Party was an interloper that had muscled its way into the “Ram temple movement” that was led by the ‘sants’ and the ‘sants’ alone, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal said here on Friday.
“Koi ghus gaya to kaise rokte?” If some people forced their way into the “movement” how could we stop them, Mr. Singhal asked. Asked whether the BJP would once again use the issue for electoral gains, Mr. Singhal said the media should put the question to the BJP leaders.
It was for the BJP to debate the Liberhan Commission in Parliament. He would advise the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani to “Stop describing December 6, 1992 [the day the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished] as the saddest day of your life.”
Mr. Singhal said the day ought to be celebrated as “Shaurya Divas” — Day of Valour — and it was time Mr. Advani stopped calling it a black day or a sad day or saying the demolition was unfortunate.
The VHP’s stance indicates that the mother organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is looking to once again bring the Ram temple controversy on the national agenda. The BJP may also follow suit as indicated by the choice of its speaker selected to lead the debate scheduled for December 1 in the Lok Sabha: Rajnath Singh, who is not expected to take the “saddest day of my life” kind of stand.
Interestingly, Mr. Advani had first asked his deputy Sushma Swaraj to lead the debate but later agreed to Mr. Singh doing the honours.
Mr. Singhal — one of the 68 leaders indicted by the Liberhan Commission — certified that the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was “very much a part of the Ram temple ‘andolan,’” although he was not present in Ayodhya the day the structure was brought down. His “heart” was completely with the demand for a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
In contrast to his comments on Mr. Advani, Mr. Singhal — who had spearheaded the agitation by the saffron brigade even before the BJP took up the issue — was all praise for the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh. “Kalyan Singh has admitted it was his responsibility. He said that he decided to ensure that no one fired on the kar sevaks gathered there. I congratulate him for being honest and owning up responsibility.”
Mr. Singhal made it clear that the VHP would once again try and mobilise the “sants’ and the people on this issue. He also raised the stakes by talking about “three janmabhoomis” — Ram’s at Ayodhya, Shiva’s at Kashi and Krishna’s at Mathura — demanding that Muslims give up their claims to specific mosques in all three places to earn the love and affection of the 80 per cent Hindus in this country. Mr. Singhal announced that the VHP would then give up claim to some “30,000 mosques.”