The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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To Delhi durbar via Ayodhya highway

New Delhi, July 6: Delighted with the Muslim law board’s rejection of the Ayodhya formula, the Sangh parivar today hinted the temple agitation would be stepped up and even made a potential poll plank by laying the blame on the Muslim leadership’s “jihadi” mentality.

While the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was subdued in its reaction, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, working in tandem with the Sangh, was forthright.

On the likelihood of Ayodhya becoming a poll issue, VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia said: “It is up to the BJP to decide. The highway to Delhi passes through the Hindu highway that passes through Ayodhya.”

“Anybody talking about a Ram temple will get elected,” he said in an ominous warning to the doves in the saffron camp.

He said the VHP was neither making the temple a poll issue nor campaigning for the BJP. “As Churchill said, we are educating Hindus, we are enlightening them.”

According to Sangh sources, the RSS and the VHP worked to a strategy to serve the law board with a fait accompli instead of a face-saver over Ayodhya.

The RSS worked behind the scenes and the VHP took the foreground to launch a frontal attack on the Muslim leadership and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, they said. As a result, the talks failed.

Sangh leaders today said the rejection of the seer’s proposals had greatly narrowed the scope of a negotiated settlement. The legislative route may be the only one left, they hinted.

Both the RSS and the VHP said the rejection was an “insult to Hindu society”, but had not come as a surprise to them.

But while RSS spokesman Ram Madhav was well-calibrated in his reaction, Togadia went hammer and tongs at the Muslim leadership.

Madhav said the Sangh did not expect a positive outcome as it knew the “track record” of the Muslim leadership.

Asked if the RSS would rule out future talks, he said an initiative taken by well-intentioned people would be welcomed. “You can’t put all eggs in one basket. Door for talks should be kept open; legislative option should also be kept in mind.”

Madhav said the RSS did not press the Sankaracharya to serve a fait accompli to the law board. “No pressure by us. It will be an insult to Swamiji to say that he acted under pressure.”

Madhav took the opportunity to say that the VHP will always have the “blessings of the RSS” for its Ram temple movement.

He disagreed with reports that the Sangh parivar was trying to turn it into a poll issue. “The movement has nothing to do with election, but it will have its impact on elections,” Madhav said.

Togadia, however, rejected chances of negotiations. “It is now clear that a negotiated settlement will not work because 95 per cent Muslims are the progeny of Ghazni, Aurangzeb and Jinnah.”

In his usual combative mood, the VHP leader said: “Eighty-five per cent Hindu population does not need the signature of the Muslim leadership to build the Ram temple. It is better to jump into the sea than succumb to their pressure tactics.”

The Centre, he said, should now take the initiative to pass a legislation. “Legislation is the only democratic way to restore Hindu-Muslim amity.”

Promising to launch a “massive nationwide agitation” soon, Togadia said the VHP would consult sants to chalk out a “future strategy”.

The Muslim leadership, Togadia said, had “missed the bus”. Asked if it was not too early to close the doors on talks, he said: “After 450 years, nothing has emerged and it is a folly to expect an outcome. We are 85 per cent. We can change polity. We can change law.”

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