The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP on patch-up route

New Delhi, June 30: The great Ayodhya patch-up unfolded in two acts today: in Chennai and Delhi.

Complementing RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan’s comment that there were no differences between the Kanchi Sankaracharya and the VHP, BJP leaders said in the capital that the parishad had to be involved in negotiations for a settlement of the Ayodhya dispute.

Sources said Sudarshan also told the Sankaracharya of the need to take the VHP into confidence.

They said the BJP had despatched senior Uttar Pradesh leader Kalraj Mishra to Ayodhya to placate the sants. Deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani discussed the issue with state BJP chief Vinay Katiyar, a hardliner.

After being ballistic for weeks, VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia today took pains to clarify that the parishad’s criticism was directed not against the BJP but the “NDA which has no Hindutva agenda”. “There was no question of marginalising the BJP,” he said.

Furious at being left out of the negotiations, Sangh outfits, especially the VHP, had launched a vicious attack on Atal Bihari Vajpayee, including Kashmir and Tibet also in their sweep. The VHP went to the extent of declaring it would work to defeat Vajpayee in Lucknow and Advani in Gandhinagar. Today, Togadia softened his tone towards Advani, though Vajpayee was not blessed with his favours.

It appeared though that the BJP was intent on not making an issue of the criticism, having succeeded in getting the RSS to broker peace with VHP on the Ayodhya settlement initiative.

Refusing to be provoked by Sangh parivar attacks on Vajpayee, the BJP said these were the views of some “individuals” and “organisations”. At the same time, the party made it clear that it was not going to be held to ransom. It said the BJP had “full faith in the Prime Minister who has national interest in mind”.

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