The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Joshi temple plea & papers on PM plate

New Delhi, Sept. 27: Murli Manohar Joshi is likely to move Allahabad High Court on Monday for a review of the Rae Bareli court’s order to frame charges against him in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

Sources close to Joshi, who quit as human resources development minister after the verdict, said the appeal would be made only on his behalf. It will not be a collective plea for the other co-accused who include VHP leaders Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Ashok Singhal and Acharya Giriraj Kishore and the BJP’s Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar. This is because the verdict treated them as separate entities.

BJP sources believe the main reason why Joshi has decided to file a review petition is to get a stay order, which would make it easier for the Prime Minister to reject his resignation.

Officially, the BJP’s stand is Joshi should not have resigned because the Ayodhya case was “politically motivated” and was different from a corruption charge. But some feel a charge-sheeted minister could pose problems for the government as the Opposition has hinted that should Atal Bihari Vajpayee reject the resignation, it could see Joshi being boycotted in Parliament like defence minister George Fernandes.

Joshi today indicated he would use the verdict to derive political mileage for the Ayodhya “cause”. After the exoneration of deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, the “case will now be Joshi and the others”, he said. “Earlier, it was L.K. Advani and the others.”

Earlier, addressing BJP workers from Uttaranchal at his residence, Joshi asserted that a temple should be built at Ram’s birthplace according to “people’s wishes”. “If people’s sentiments are strong, it becomes the voice of god. Temple will be constructed on the birthplace,” he said and expressed hope that he would come “clean”.

BJP sources expect Vajpayee, after he returns from the US tomorrow, to convene a meeting with Advani and finance minister Jaswant Singh on Monday to discuss Joshi’s resignation. It is not clear if party chief M. Venkaiah Naidu would be included because of the belief that he was somehow responsible for setting the BJP against Joshi and ensuring that he did not become a “martyr” to the Ayodhya “cause”.

The RSS has made it clear it would not like to be a party to the final decision, although Sangh chief K.S. Sudarshan and his colleagues conferred with Joshi and Naidu to get the “opposing” viewpoints and were in the capital “understanding” the resignation drama.

Another of Vajpayee’s problems is the fate of minister and MDMK MP M. Kannappan. Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa has sought his removal and threatened to arrest him under the anti-terror law because of an alleged pro-LTTE speech.

Other issues that could bother Vajpayee are the resentment building up against Naidu after the way he handled Joshi’s resignation; the VHP’s plan for an agitation in Ayodhya from October 15; and filing of a review petition against the court order stalling HPCL and BPCL’s divestment.

The government is also thinking of filing a review petition against the Supreme Court’s stalling of the sale of oil majors HPCL and BPCL.

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