The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP denies Ayodhya pact with Mulayam

New Delhi, Oct. 16: BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu denied there was an “understanding” between his party and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party , countering Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayavati’s charge of a “secret pact” between the two on the Ayodhya issue.

“There is no understanding, overt or covert, between the BJP and the Samajwadi. There is a government in Uttar Pradesh with whom the Centre has to coordinate. We have the same coordination with the CPM government in Bengal and the Congress government in Karnataka. There is no party-to-party relationship and neither is there a proposal to have an alliance with the Samajwadi,” Naidu told journalists today.

Political observers remarked on the growing cosiness between the arch adversaries after the BJP unseated Mayavati as Uttar Pradesh chief minister and snapped its ties with her party.

A section of the party sought to give the impression that the BJP was principally responsible for installing Mulayam Singh in her place. It even floated the theory that after the next Lok Sabha polls, the Samajwadi could consider supporting a BJP-led coalition at the Centre in return for “support” in Uttar Pradesh.

Sources close to Naidu discounted these rumours, saying the arrest of VHP leaders during the latest round of the Ayodhya “agitation” in Uttar Pradesh proved that the chief minister was keen to keep his “pro-minority” credentials intact.

The BJP chief called on Mulayam Singh to release the detained VHP activists and Ram bhakts “so that a proper climate can be created for their programme to go on peacefully”.

“The government of India took a decision not to cancel the trains (going to Ayodhya). The VHP agreed to hold a meeting outside the (Faizabad) city and only have a darshan of Ram Lalla. I hope the Uttar Pradesh government will cooperate,” said Naidu.

The BJP leader also appealed to the VHP to “cooperate fully with the administration so that the prestige of their programme is enhanced”.

Naidu was critical of statements made by VHP leaders like Praveen Togadia, Acharya Dharmendra and Surendra Jain, though he did not name them.

“It is not necessary for the BJP to agree with each and every programme of the VHP. Some statements of the VHP leaders are not helpful to the cause of temple construction. Being critical of the Prime Minister and the deputy Prime Minister is not going to help. We are a nationalist party and when we agree with the VHP, we support them. When we disagree, we say so,” asserted Naidu.

“The Centre has taken a decision not to obstruct the movement. The state government has every right to regulate the number of people going for darshan in the temple. But the VHP has the greatest responsibility because it has sponsored the programme. We are confident that after the RSS’ statement, the programme will pass off peacefully.”

Naidu iterated that the Ayodhya tangle could be sorted out only through negotiations between representatives of Hindus and Muslims. “Legislation is not possible because we don’t have a majority. The VHP suggested we should resign if it was not possible to bring in a legislation. But we have rejected this proposal.”

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