New Delhi, Sept. 13: After the rebuke, it’s time for reckoning.
Top BJP and RSS leaders met today to discuss the political implications of the Supreme Court’s indictment of the Gujarat government and other key issues like the next phase of the Ayodhya agitation and “better co-ordination” with the VHP.
The VHP will unveil the next phase of the temple movement in a couple of days.
Party sources said the apex court’s observation — that Narendra Modi should quit if he cannot ensure justice — took up the better part of the four-hour deliberations at BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu’s residence. Although they said the BJP is still firmly behind the chief minister, the mood was no longer as defiant as yesterday when Naidu ruled out Modi’s resignation.
“This does not mean that we are thinking he should quit. Clearly, things are not as black and white as they seem,” said a source. Naidu might summon a meeting of office-bearers tomorrow to get a wider range of views.
Sources said the party’s strategy now would be to answer political adversaries rather than get entangled in a debate with the court. “The Congress and Left have demanded Modi’s resignation. But this is not the first time that the apex court has pulled up a state government. They had said stronger things about the Bihar government and yet the Congress is part of it and the Left supports it,” said a source.
The BJP is compiling a list of similar observations by the apex court on the RJD government and the Congress and the Left’s responses to them.
Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, RSS functionaries Madan Das Devi and Mohanrao Bhagwat and the BJP general secretaries also expressed concern at VHP president Ashok Singhal’s disparaging comments about Vajpayee last week in Jammu. Devi and Bhagwat clarified that they did not share Singhal’s view of Vajpayee being “unfit” to become Prime Minister again.
The leaders agreed that after the ASI report established the existence of a structure beneath the Babri mosque ruins, it was “perfectly in order” for the VHP to step up its temple agitation.
The BJP leaders appealed to the RSS representatives to ensure that whatever plan of action the VHP announces after its two-day marg darshak mandal meeting, beginning tomorrow, does not “embarrass” the government.