New Delhi, Aug. 31: The BJP has more or less decided to take a back seat on the Ayodhya issue and let the RSS and its militant Hindu front, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), lead from the front till it is certain that the plank regained the political potential it once had.
L.K. Advani — the best known face of that era — when asked by the MPs in a parliamentary party meeting this morning on how they should respond was quoted as saying: Nothing. Let the verdict come.
The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court is expected to pronounce a verdict on the 60-year-old original title suit of the Babri Masjid/Ramjanmabhoomi case in the second half of September.
The RSS-VHP have declared that whatever be the judgment — whether it goes in favour of the Sunni Waqf Board or the Hindu organisations — the land should be handed over to Hindus so that they can build a grand Ram temple on the site of the fallen mosque.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari today met the Uttar Pradesh MPs over lunch to get a sense of the political fallout of the legal development. We discussed the implications of the scenarios arising from the three possibilities: if the judgment favours the Muslims or the Hindus or remains ambiguous about the ownership, said Kusum Rai, Rajya Sabha MP.
Gadkari informed them that he, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and other senior BJP colleagues would confer with the RSS-VHP brass this week to firm up a joint strategy.
A source close to Gadkari admitted that faced with a credibility crisis and the political perils of flirting with extremism, the BJP was best advised to keep a low profile and respect the courts ruling.
There is a problem of which of our leaders can credibly project the temple issue again to people. Advani sadly has lost fire and conviction with his flip-flops on Jinnah and Hindutva. Gadkari, Sushma and Jaitley were never associated with the temple movement. (Murli Manohar) Joshi retains credibility but has no charisma. That leaves us with Narendra Modi, an Uttar Pradesh MP said.
Modi, another source said, represented a paradox in that the BJP was unsure of which path he wished to tread to make a national impact: development or Hindutva. After his last victory, he rarely spoke on Hindutva, the source said.
The other hitch was the VHPs ageing patriarch, Ashok Singhal, seeking to recover his relevance, told off Advani and the BJP last week. He said they should atone for their sin of politicising the temple issue. If the VHP is against us, we shouldnt venture into their terrain, an MP said.
The BJP has discreetly embarked on an exercise to suss out what young Hindus thought of the post-Ayodhya generation and if they related to it emotionally. They are not disconnected from it but Hindu consciousness has transcended emotions. The modes of agitation have changed. Nobody uses slogans, they link with blogs. The Sangh will have to tweak its approach, a source close to Gadkari said.
Last Friday, the RSS dispatched its senior office-bearer, Madan Das Devi, to a BJP conclave in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh.
Devi apparently counselled the BJP not to get pro-active on Ayodhya. He reportedly told Gadkari that as a political party, the BJP would have to address a support base beyond the parivar.
Gadkari was told that instead of trying to ride a two-horse chariot, spurred by development and Hindutva, the BJP should focus on development.