Days before the prohibited 84 kosi parikrama in Ayodhya, the former Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh — Uma Bharti and her predecessor Digvijaya Singh — went public with proposed out-of-court settlements of the Ayodhya dispute.

Ms. Bharti said she preferred an out-of-court settlement to the dispute although she would not hesitate to participate in any VHP movement if invited.

“If the VHP or even I intervene, whatever we say will not be accepted by Muslims. It is better if Mulayamji, Manmohanji, Advaniji get together with the parties and find a solution in the interest of the nation... Even Digvijayaji, whose family has been worshipping Ram for generations, can help,” she said adding that the SP chief and the Congress were known for “fixing matches” and that the CBI “is the bookie.”

Mr. Digvijay Singh, in a tweet on Thursday, said: “84 Kosi Parikrama in Chaitra in Ayodhya is an age old parampara. Now VHP wants to start a Parikrama for Ram Mandir for Political ends... When Supreme Court has asked to maintain status quo in Ayodhya Ram Mandir issue ,why is VHP and BJP communalising to disturb peace in UP?” [sic]

In an exclusive interview with The Hindu, Mr. Singh said traditionally the 84 kosi parikrama was held in the Hindu month of Chaitra (March/ April) and not in Bhadra (which begins on August 23).

“An out-of-court settlement by the original petitioners, and not any political party or the VHP is welcome. Let the Hindus and Muslims of Ayodhya decide. The former Prime Minister, Narasimha Rao, had involved all Shankaracharyas and created the Ramalaya Trust, which kept the VHP out. A settlement by Ramalaya and Muslims should be acceptable,” said the Congress leader.

The 84 kosi parikrama, which the VHP is keen to proceed with on August 25 in violation of prohibitory orders, will cover 135 km around Ayodhya.

Following the 14 kosi parikrama in 1990, violence erupted and which 15 kar sevaks were killed in police firing on October 30. This led to the defeat of Mr. Mulayam Singh at the hands of the BJP in 1991.

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