Rath yatra was to counter Mandal report: V.P. Singh

NEW DELHI, NOV. 27. The former Prime Minister, Mr. V.P. Singh, today told the Justice Liberhan Commission that the Union Home Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani, undertook the `rath yatra' in 1990 to counter the Mandal Commission's report as the BJP was apprehensive that it might lose the middle class if the party supported the report.

Continuing his deposition before the panel, Mr. Singh said that at the same time the BJP also did not want to oppose the report as it feared that it might result in alienation of the backward classes and thought that religious issues would be the proper answer to cloud the Mandal issue. Though the Ayodhya issue was not on the agenda of the BJP, construction of a Ram temple became the main agenda of the party and it began to build up a psyche among the people which finally resulted in the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.

To a question whether the `Shah Bano' issue had a bearing on the Ayodhya issue, Mr. Singh said there was a difference between the two as whatever decision was taken by the Government in respect of the former was as per the recommendation of Parliament. ``There was no violation of court order in the `Shah Bano' case as was in the Ayodhya demolition or entry into the prohibited area recently,'' he said.

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