Dovish Yogi’s hawkish hint on temple
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday appeared to suggest that “shanti” and “sauhardya” (peace and harmony) could be endangered if the Supreme Court failed to deliver timely “justice” in the Ayodhya dispute, adding that the government was holding wide consultations to find an “alternative solution”.
In an interview to ABP News, the BJP leader tried not to sound like the quintessential firebrand Hindutva leader he is, possibly constrained by the constitutional position he holds, but ended up making loaded statements such as “justice delayed is sometimes equivalent to injustice” and that the sentiments of the “majority community” should be respected.
“The Supreme Court is hearing the case related to Ayodhya. Justice in time is justice. Justice delayed is sometimes equivalent to injustice. The majority community of this country and citizens who want peace and harmony are waiting with hope for a solution to the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. These public sentiments should be respected,” Adityanath said.
The chief minister was responding to a question on the Supreme Court’s refusal on Monday to hear the Ayodhya title suit immediately after Diwali and its decision that an appropriate bench would in January take a call on hearing the case.
The direction the case takes would have an impact on the Lok Sabha elections in May next year, given that a Ram temple in Ayodhya is the BJP’s core plank and a fulcrum of its Hindutva vote base. The Sangh parivar has demanded that the Centre bring in a law to facilitate a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
Adityanath pointed out that the counsel for the Uttar Pradesh government too had appealed to the court for early hearing and a solution to the issue “for peace and harmony”, two words he repeated several times in the interview.
The comments of Adityanath, who rules the state that stands to be directly affected on the “peace and harmony” front, came even as the top leadership of the BJP and also the government chose silence on the issue.
On Monday another aggressive leader, Union minister Giriraj Singh, had said the “patience of Hindus was running out” and warned about the consequences.
Asked if he too favoured a law or ordinance on the Ayodhya dispute like RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Adityanath underlined his helplessness because of his constitutional position as chief minister, but added that the government was trying to find an alternative solution and hoped such a step would be taken.
“Look, everyone has respect for the justice system of the country, and I am tied by constitutional necessities. But I hope that the honourable Supreme Court resolves the issue at the earliest,” the chief minister said.
“Naturally, if there is a delay in the delivery of justice then there is despair among the people. To find a solution to this problem we are holding wide consultations and discussions and I believe a solution will come out,” Adityanath added.
Asked if as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and a key leader of the BJP he too would propose that the Centre bring in an ordinance, he said the better option would have been for the court to give an early solution. Adityanath said he had lost hope of an early resolution and suggested that “whatever alternative is possible should be adopted”.
“Now this issue is in the court but for peace and harmony in the country and to respect the faith of the majority, I feel that whatever alternative is possible should be adopted. However, it would have been better had the court, in the larger interest of peace and harmony in the country, had heard the case at the earliest. But now I don’t see such a possibility,” Adityanath said.
Asked if the issue would be resolved before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he refrained from a direct reply but said he wanted an “early resolution”.
“I want a solution at the earliest because Ayodhya is in UP. My government has the task of maintaining peace, harmony and order in the state and my government will surely ensure it,” Adityanath said.
The chief minister repeatedly stressed that those like him who favoured “peace and harmony” wanted an early resolution to the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. He also urged Hindu seers, who he acknowledged were agitated with the government for not finding a solution, to maintain calm and assured them of resolution.
Asked again if a law to pave the way for the construction of a Ram temple would be the best option, Adityanath said: “Whatever solution comes peacefully and harmoniously would be the best. The best thing would be if the issue is resolved through consensus. But if not then there are other options too.”