The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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VHP faces temple music

Lucknow, April 30: The two-day conclave of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir Uchchadhikar Samiti today failed to come up with a time-bound programme for construction of the Ram temple. Instead, it ended with leaders blaming each other.

Announcing the VHP’s next phase in its agitation — “sansad mein kanoon banao, mandir ka nirman karao (pass laws to construct the temple)” — Ashok Singhal sought to distance the VHP from the BJP.

The VHP chief said: “The BJP should remember that its change in fortunes came about because of the sacrifices made by the kar sevaks, not due to Advani’s rath yatra. This time, we’ll approach all MPs, irrespective of party affiliations.”

But even though it was suggested that the MPs could be pressured into supporting the temple construction, VHP hardliners were far from satisfied. Speaking on their behalf, the chairman of the VHP-sponsored Ram Janmabhoomi Trust, Ramchandra Paramhans, said: “The VHP was never serious about the temple. Had it been, the temple would have come up long ago. Instead, they were preoccupied with installing the BJP government.”

The chairman of the high-powered panel, Mahant Avaidyanath, said: “Though there may be differences in perception, none of us will leave the VHP till the temple has been constructed.” But he admitted that the impression that the VHP was working in tandem with the BJP had weakened the temple movement.

Singhal went on to say that the campaign to persuade MPs would be launched in the current session of Parliament and would continue into the next.

He accused “perverted secularists” and “Muslim fundamentalists” of putting hurdles in the way of temple construction.

Singhal’s remarks failed to impress veteran activists who recalled VHP’s battle cry of the early 1990s — “Ram lalla ham aayenge, mandir vahin banayenge”. The VHP chief admitted that different versions of the song had not taken the outfit any closer to the temple construction.

He said the VHP had tried to slow the tempo after the mosque was demolished in 1992. The new theme songs, Singhal said, were “mandir kahan banana hai, mandir bana banaya hai. (The temple does not have to be built, it is already there)” and its later version, “mandir bana banaya hai, mandir bhavya banana hai (The temple is already there; we have to make it magnificent)”.

In view of the November Assembly elections in four states and next year’s Lok Sabha polls, the VHP think-tank appears to have opted for moderation. A senior RSS functionary said: “We don’t mind placing the sadhus and mahants at the forefront, but we can’t let them take over the movement.” The creation of the 51-member high-powered committee in September last year was aimed at clipping the wings of Nyas chief Paramhans.

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