The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP racks brains on Ayodhya stand

New Delhi, July 17: BJP general secretaries Pramod Mahajan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who reached Raipur today ahead of the party’s national executive session, are putting their heads together to work out what might be a crucial resolution on Ayodhya.

Party chief M. Venkaiah Naidu, who will reach the venue tomorrow, will hold a meeting of all central office-bearers to give a final shape to the Ayodhya resolution, which, sources said, would be the “high-point” of the two-day meeting.

BJP sources said the “problematic” areas were bringing a central law on Ayodhya and defining the “disputed” and “undisputed” areas.

A legislation of the kind the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad want to facilitate the transfer of the Ayodhya land to the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas is not possible because the BJP does not have the numbers to pass it, they added.

The VHP had demanded that the government convene a joint session of Parliament to get the law passed as it did in the case of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. But the BJP was clear that this was not possible, given the assessment that its allies were far more opposed to the Ayodhya legislation than the anti-terror act.

“So, we are still debating in what form it should be mentioned, whether it should be mentioned at all or just be brought up in the general discussion,” said a source. Even a statement to the effect that such a law will be introduced if the BJP gets a majority of its own could annoy the allies, the source added.

As for the distinction between “disputed” and “undisputed” areas, party sources said the entire complex, which was acquired by the Centre in 1994 through the Land Acquisition Act, was as good as disputed following the Supreme Court’s ruling.

In a separate verdict on a petition to allow the Nyas to perform shiladaan in 2002, the apex court had said status quo must be maintained in the entire complex and disallowed the ritual on the area the VHP claimed was “undisputed”. So, any mention of the distinction, the sources feared, could invite the court’s strictures.

The resolution — the first on Ayodhya since the Palampur meeting of 1989 — is likely to stress on a negotiated settlement and an expeditious court verdict. Sources said a separate political resolution is unlikely.

Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Arun Shourie have been reportedly asked to draft the economic resolution, which is expected to explain the government’s position regarding the World Trade Organisation and divestment — aspects that raised the hackles of the RSS and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, a Sangh parivar outfit.

The executive is likely to come up with two statements: one on the BJP’s formula of dual membership seats to overcome the problems of passing the women’s reservation bill and the other reaffirming its belief in reservation for the economically backward castes.

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