Right decision at right time, says Vinay Katiyar

NEW DELHI APRIL 9. Seething with anger at the "insults heaped on Hindu gods and goddesses" by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati, the State leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party are, at the same time, not willing to directly criticise the leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party with which the BJP is a coalition partner in the State.

Mr. Vinay Katiyar, U.P. State unit president of the BJP, told reporters today — it almost sounded like a warning — that the BJP would take the "right decision at the right time.'' Anyone who insulted Ram had come to grief, he added.

But simultaneously, another State BJP leader and the Finance Minister, Lalji Tandon, tried valiantly to defend his Chief Minister, saying she had not denigrated Hindu gods but had only criticised idol worship. She was implementing what the old Jana Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya had always prescribed — development of the people of the lowest strata of society — Mr. Tandon said. "Why is so much noise being made about this tape,'' he asked.

But many in the BJP who feel that Ms. Mayawati has crossed the `lakshman rekha' this time and that it will be difficult for the central leadership to explain to the cadre how it is continuing the alliance with a party whose leader has heaped insults on Hindu gods.

However, in his defence of Ms. Mayawati, Mr. Tandon said that she was not the first political party leader to talk in a manner not to the liking of some. "Some politicians had gone so far as to suggest constructing toilets at Ayodhya,'' he said.

Apparently, State BJP leaders have not yet taken up the issue with the central party leaders and, after a recent decision that all party problems should be discussed internally and not before the press, both Mr. Katiyar and Mr. Tandon were careful not to attack Ms. Mayawati directly. It is also learnt that the three-man coordination committee set up by the BJP to deal with problems related to the coalition has not met yet.