The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Floods fog Mulayam’s temple tale
- Chief minister waves off Ayodhya as non-issue

Jamshedpur, Sept. 26: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav today said he does not see any storm brewing over the Ram temple.

“I do not see the temple now. I do not see what the BJP or the Vishwa Hindu Parishad are doing. Last heard, I thought the BJP had vowed to abide by the court’s decision in the case. What I, however, see are the problems of the people of Uttar Pradesh when parts of the state are facing a serious flood threat,” he said at the end of the Samajwadi Party’s two-day national executive meeting here.

Asked if he would act tough against troublemakers if, during the VHP’s proposed Ayodhya march next month, the situation went out of hand like in October 1990 or December 1992, the chief minister said: “I do not think it is an important issue. We will see what happens.”

Mulayam Singh had attracted strong criticism from the Sangh parivar when, as chief minister, he ordered tough police action against kar sevaks at Ayodhya in October 1990. This time, the VHP has decided to call those who reach Ayodhya next month “Ram sevaks” and vowed to take the temple construction plan to its “logical end”.

The Samajwadi leader’s attitude towards the BJP has fuelled speculation even within his party about the chief minister’s plans.

“The signals have been conflicting. On the one hand Mulayam Singh says the BJP always times its temple plan with his becoming chief minister, on the other he denies knowledge of the Sangh parivar’s proposed campaign. He is definitely not the same firebrand leader who never tired of attacking the BJP’s communal posturing. He should come clear on the matter,” a senior party leader said.

Ruling out a direct confrontation with the temple protagonists, the Samajwadi has already announced it will organise programmes all over Uttar Pradesh on October 11 and 12, the birth anniversary of Jaiprakash Narayan and death anniversary of Ram Manohar Lohia, respectively. Party sources said these would act as a “befitting reply” to the Ram temple campaign.

Mulayam Singh said his party has decided to put up a “larger” number of candidates in the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi.

“I have asked party presidents of all these states to inform me of their plans in a week. Our Chhattisgarh unit has decided to contest all seats. If necessary, the Samajwadi Party will go it alone in all these states, though we are open to issue-based tie-ups with the other parties. We may not be able to form governments in these states but we will definitely have a say in government formation,” he said.

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