The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Hindutva Bills trap for Cong

New Delhi, Feb. 25: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani has said the Centre was willing to bring Bills to ban cow killing, build a Ram temple at Ayodhya, prohibit conversion and introduce a common civil code, provided it had the Congress’ support.

Addressing the BJP parliamentary party in a routine weekly meeting in the absence of the Prime Minister, Advani said once the BJP was assured of the Congress’ backing, it would work on the NDA allies. “If the Congress is agreeable, we will talk to our allies for finding a solution to the Ayodhya tangle,” BJP spokesman V.K. Malhotra quoted him as saying.

The BJP’s strategy, as unveiled by Advani, was designed to put the Congress on the backfoot by forcing it to spell out its stand on these contentious issues. BJP sources said in Gujarat, the Congress fell between two stools while trying to defend its Muslim vote bank and not appear antagonistic to Hindus.

“It is the Shah Bano and Ayodhya unlocking syndrome that has caught up with the Congress and we are determined to use it to our advantage,” claimed sources. They were referring to Rajiv Gandhi’s attempts to please Hindus and Muslims in 1987 first by overturning the Supreme Court ruling on giving maintenance to divorced Muslim women and then throwing open the Ayodhya structure for worship by Hindus. The Congress lost the Hindu and Muslim votes in the 1989 elections to the BJP and the Janata Dal.

In the meeting, Advani stressed that the BJP had not dumped its “core” issues. “It is only for the sake of the NDA that these issues were kept out of the National Agenda of Governance. But our core principle and core policy remain the same. It is the Congress which has been using these issues for vote-bank politics. The same party which once talked of bringing Ram rajya in Ayodhya now wants to bring an adjournment motion on the same issue, but it got cold feet because of the Himachal polls,” he was quoted as saying.

Advani complimented Atal Bihari Vajpayee for countering Pervez Musharraf when the latter raised the Kashmir issue at the Non-Aligned Movement summit. “The Prime Minister gave a prompt and sound snub to Musharraf. If self-determination is made the basis, then none of the Pakistan provinces would have been with it today. In a multi-cultural and multi-linguistic country, self-determination as an instrument can only cause disintegration. To advocate it as a solution to the Kashmir problem is unacceptable,” he said.

The meeting resolved that there was no question of Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and the others accused in the Babri Masjid demolition resigning as ministers after the CBI filed a fresh chargesheet. It also expressed regret at the VHP sadhus calling the Prime Minister and the deputy Prime Minister names.

Email This Page