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Advani sends Ayodhya message

Khajuraho, Sept. 21: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani wants Ayodhya and Somnath to be developed on the lines of the Vaishnodevi temple in Kashmir.

The announcement is being interpreted by some as a message to the Murli Manohar Joshi camp that it cannot hijack the Ayodhya cause merely because Advani was acquitted by the Rae Bareli court.

“Ayodhya is a sacred place associated with the name of Lord Ram. There is the Saryu river also. The manner in which Jagmohanji (Union tourism and culture minister) has developed facilities at the Vaishnodevi shrine is tremendous. Similar efforts should be made in Ayodhya, too, to make it attractive for pilgrims. Such steps should be taken in Somnath temple also,” Advani said.

Advani was speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of a museum in Khajuraho with state BJP president Uma Bharti at his side. Bharti is among the seven against whom the Rae Bareli court has ordered framing of charges.

Jagmohan and civil aviation minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy as well as Bharti travelled with Advani to Khajuraho today.

Asked if he was planning to visit Ayodhya, Advani said: “Yes, I will.” But he refused to set a date and declined to divulge his travel plans despite repeated questions. Nor was he keen on discussing the court verdict, saying the party had already said all that was necessary.

The phone lines in the party are working overtime. Apart from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who has spoken at length to both Joshi and Advani, RSS joint general secretary Madan Das Devi spoke to Joshi yesterday.

A meeting between Advani and Joshi is likely perhaps on Tuesday or late tomorrow, depending on when Joshi returns from Allahabad.

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