The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani in law reality check

Nagpur/New Delhi, July 13: A day after the government agreed to consider the Sangh parivar’s demand for a legislation on building a temple in Ayodhya, the deputy Prime Minister today said it was not feasible.

During an interaction with journalists of Tarun Bharat, a pro-RSS Marathi daily, L.K. Advani cited the government’s lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha as the reason. “Why Ayodhya' Any bill cannot be passed without the support of the Congress and we should accept this harsh reality,” he said.

Referring to the Prevention of Terrorism Act’s passage in Parliament, Advani said this could be done because “we had the support of allies and of some other parties. The same thing cannot be said here (of Ayodhya)”. He said the solution to the dispute “cannot be stated publicly”.

Unlike Advani, who cited the lack of majority, Samata Party chief George Fernandes today said he was opposed to the proposed legislation.

In a move that will bolster the besieged Prime Minister’s position, the Samata Party chief warned that if the BJP, a National Democratic Alliance partner, tried to enact a law, other leaders will also speak out, NDA sources said.

Another ally, the Telugu Desam Party, held its reaction as spokesperson K. Yerran Naidu said “no decision has been taken”.

“What happened in the meeting (last night at the Prime Minister’s home), we are not bothered…We have full faith in the Prime Minister and the NDA agenda. I do not think it (legislation) will happen,” he said.

The Sangh parivar had yesterday extracted an assurance from senior government and BJP functionaries that the party would discuss the issue at its Raipur national executive meeting on July 18.

The draft political resolution of the Samata Party, which kicked off its two-day national executive meeting in New Delhi today, said the party favoured a solution through dialogue or a court verdict.

Individuals who have taken extreme and intractable positions in both communities need to be marginalised and the moderates encouraged to try for a dialogue “unmindful of the recent setbacks”, the party said.

According to sources, the Samata draft opposed legislation as “enacting laws through Parliament will only result in creating further tensions and becoming another watershed destroying the secular ethos, as was done by the Rajiv Gandhi government in the Shah Bano case where women’s rights were also undermined.”

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