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Was Gulzari part of Ram Temple plan?

Was former Prime Minister Gulzari Lal Nanda a part of the Rashtriya Swayam-sevak Sangh (RSS) plan to construct a Ram temple at Ayodhya? Yes, according to the findings of the Justice MS Liberhan Commission, which probed the demolition of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. Nagendar Sharma reports.

delhi Updated: Nov 29, 2009 01:03 IST
Nagendar Sharma

Was former Prime Minister Gulzari Lal Nanda a part of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) plan to construct a Ram temple at Ayodhya?

Yes, according to the findings of the Justice MS Liberhan Commission, which probed the demolition of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

Nanda died on January 15, 1998, at the age of 99.

Justice Liberhan, in the sixth chapter of his 1,029-page report, has referred to the late leader. In the chapter Mobilisation of Karsevaks, there is a surprise mention about the Congress leader on page 336.

“Prof Rajinder Singh, RSS leader, Dau Dayal Khanna, Gulzari Lal Nanda, the die-hard Hindus, in connivance with people with similar thoughts, started conceiving and exploiting the local dispute at a national level,” the report has stated.

“Maybe for their selfish political needs or for advancing their old theory of Hindu Rashtra”, says the report.

Nanda, a prominent Congress leader, was a minister in the cabinets of the first three prime ministers — Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi. He became the acting PM twice, in 1964 and 1966 for a fortnight each, after the deaths of Nehru and Shastri, respectively. He quit politics in 1971 and turned to social service.

The RSS is surprised at the reference. “The world knows Nanda was a well-known Congress leader. He may have been a part of the Ram Janambhoomi movement in 1949, but we are not aware of his activities after that,” said RSS leader, Ram Madhav.

Madhav said though Nanda was alive during the temple movement era in the 1980s and ’90s, the organisation was not aware “of the leader’s feelings, since he was not in contact.”

The family of Nanda’s Ahmedabad-based daughter, Dr Pushpaben Naik, refused to comment on the controversy.