The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Temple tussle build-up

New Delhi, Aug. 3: Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “clarification” on his reported remarks on building the Ram temple in Ayodhya failed to convince the Opposition, which has decided to corner the Prime Minister when the House reassembles tomorrow.

The CPM and the Lok Janshakti Party, headed by Ram Vilas Paswan, have decided to bring an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha.

CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee said he had spoken to the leader of the Opposition and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“She indicated that she would also consider such a motion. She will be talking to her floor leaders tomorrow,” he said. Chatterjee will also speak to the leaders of the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Nationalist Congress Party tomorrow when they return from their weekend break.

On Vajpayee’s Ayodhya statements and the “clarification”, Congress spokesman S. Jaipal Reddy said: “The original statements were extremely objectionable. But the clarification is typical of Vajpayee’s style. We will raise the matter after talking to our Opposition colleagues to evolve a common course of action.”

Speaking to reporters in Chandigarh, Paswan accused Vajpayee of “playing to the galleries”. “Today the Prime Minister said in Delhi that there is no change in the government’s stand. But two days back, he made a statement to cater to the audience (in Ayodhya). This has only exposed him as a mask of the Sangh parivar,” said the former BJP ally.

Asked if the proposed adjournment motion could deflect attention from the discussion on the CBI chargesheet in the Babri demolition case, Chatterjee said: “If this government gives issues, as Opposition it puts an obligation on us to raise them. There is no question of diluting certain issues, but we have to give primacy to some of them.”

To add to Vajpayee’s woes, his Ayodhya declaration failed to cut ice even with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. One of its leaders, Acharya Dharmendra, sounded dismissive in Ahmedabad when he said: “What the Prime Minister has said in Ayodhya is a mere repetition of what BJP leaders have been saying on various occasions. But it is only theoretical and idealistic and not practical.”

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