Barely 10 days before a key verdict on whether the disputed site at Ayodhya belongs to Muslims or Hindus, the BJP appears to have gone for a cautious approach, readying to shed its earlier belligerent stand.
Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani on Sunday reiterated that the party’s reaction to the Allahabad High Court judgment should be “restrained and low-key, whatever be the outcome”.
Repeating the stand he earlier spelt out before the BJP parliamentary party, Advani wrote in his blog, “I advised all MPs not to indulge in any speculations about the possible verdict and whatever be the outcome, let the party reaction be restrained and low-key. Partymen have generally heeded this advice.”
He also wrote that he would visit Somnath — the place where he started the Rath Yatra in 1990 on the Ram Janmbhoomi issue — on September 25, a day after the verdict is delivered.
He said he had been visiting Somnath the same day every year since 1990, and the fact the judgment would come on that day was a “remarkable coincidence”.
Advani did not elaborate the reason behind his call for restraint, particularly after the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had been mobilising its cadre for D-day. The RSS brass has also not diluted its stand.
But party insiders said Advani and other leaders believe no political purpose would be served by creating hype when the Ram temple had failed to move voters in previous elections.
Although, the BJP won’t dilute its stand that a grand temple must be built at Ayodhya, its leaders are believed to prefer a more moderate approach after assessing the impact of the verdict, which is to be delivered on September 24. Ravi Shankar Prasad represented one of the Hindu groups in the title suit.
Barring Uttar Pradesh leaders like Rajnath Singh and Vinay Katiyar, who was involved in the mobilisation of kar sevaks on the fateful December 6, 1992, other BJP leaders were not sure the issue would “excite” its voters again after 18 years.