The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cong for court seal on Ayodhya

New Delhi, June 23: The Congress does not share the Kanchi Sankaracharya’s optimism that an amicable solution to the Ayodhya dispute can be reached by July 6.

But even if Swami Jayendra Saraswati manages to hammer out a deal between the rival Muslim and Hindu claimants, the agreement would require a court sanction, Congress chief spokesman S. Jaipal Reddy said today.

“Our stand has been clear and consistent. Either the court on merit pronounces its verdict or a settlement receives the sanction of the court,” Reddy said.

Just a few days ago, the spokesman had said the Congress did not favour a negotiated solution and that it should be left to the court to make a final and binding adjudication.

Asked if the party’s court-only approach was contrary to the P.V. Narasimha Rao government’s initiative in the mid-1990s to gather support for having a temple and a mosque side by side at Ayodhya, Reddy said the “context” today was totally different. “Our assessment today is that this vexed problem can be solved only through the court,” he added.

Reddy said Kalyan Singh’s latest statement that A.B. Vajpayee and L.K. Advani were responsible for the Babri Masjid demolition was the absolute truth.

He said the Congress had always maintained that the kar sevaks would never have brought down the masjid without directions from top leaders like the deputy Prime Minister.

Reddy urged the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister to approach the special court in Rae Bareli and the Liberhan Commission to depose against his former leaders and nail their lies.

Mayavati said at a news conference in Delhi this evening that she, too, favoured the court route for resolving the dispute.

“I am not in favour of an out-of-court settlement. Our party’s stand is that we should abide by the court verdict,” the Uttar Pradesh chief minister said. But if the issue is amicably settled through negotiation, “we have no problem with that either”, Mayavati added.

The chief minister said she was not party to the ongoing attempts to resolve the Ayodhya dispute.

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