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Since 1st March, 1999
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Sangh walks tightrope on Ayodhya

New Delhi, June 27: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is torn between its progeny, the BJP and the VHP, over who it should support in the Ayodhya dispute.

At the core is the BJP’s hint at favouring the Kanchi Sankaracharya’s reported proposal delinking Ayodhya from the Kashi and Mathura shrines, and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s firm rejection of such a move.

The RSS will thrash out its dilemma at a high-level executive meet in Kanyakumari on July 4.

Explaining the nature of the Sangh’s predicament, a senior RSS source said: “On the one hand, we cannot leave our ideological position, and on the other, we also have to take care of the BJP’s interests.”

Sources emphasised the “fine balancing act, as far as the BJP and the VHP went”, the RSS would have to do though spokesman Ram Madhav said they would pass a “strong” resolution on Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura, which would be a “direction to all our organisations, including the BJP”.

The sources said: “This (balancing act) means we should ensure the BJP-led government at the Centre is not destabilised in any way and the VHP does not cross the lakshman rekha, without appearing to give up on an issue dear to us.”

The RSS, however, is firm on its support to the VHP’s demand for a central law to hand over the undisputed land to the Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas.

“How is a legislation not possible'” a source asked. “Supposing there is an agreement between Hindus and Muslims, and the latter agree to hand over the land to Hindus. Automatically, the acquisition act gets nullified.”

The RSS believes the Centre can either bring an Ordinance or enact a law to hand the site over to the temple trust once the land is “unshackled” from the act.

The reference is to the central law passed by the P.V. Narasimha Rao government to acquire the entire Ayodhya complex, including both the disputed and undisputed areas.

The Supreme Court subsequently appointed the Centre as a receiver of the land and ordered maintenance of status quo ante.

In the RSS’ recent interactions with BJP leaders, especially .K. Advani, the deputy Prime Minister has emphasised three factors. First, the Sangh cannot expect a more “friendly” government than the one at the Centre now. Second, the Centre can do little vis-a-vis Kashi and Mathura because both places are covered by the Places of Worship Act, 1994. Third, Kashi and Mathura were never on the BJP’s agenda.

RSS sources have agreed with the first two factors, citing the implementation of the Sangh agenda in “crucial” sectors such as education and culture through the human resources development ministry.

Swadeshi ideologue and swayamsevak S. Gurumurthy had this to say about the third: “The RSS’ commitment to Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura goes back to 1955 when its pratinidhi sabha (delegates’ council) adopted a resolution to this effect.

“The BJP did not take up any issue except Ayodhya. So if the government comes close to a solution which entails the BJP giving up Kashi and Mathura, we have no problem. (But) We will stand by our earlier commitment and as for the BJP, it was non-committal on Kashi and Mathura from the start, so where is the dilemma'”

Another reason for the RSS to stand by Kashi and Mathura is to “avoid being seen as striking a bargain”, insiders in the outfit said. “Kashi and Mathura are as much dear to us as Ayodhya and there can be no bargaining…” they said.

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