The BJP sees a new political challenge post-Ayodhya verdict as it braces itself to answer critics who question the “faith over law” approach. The dilemma arose as the Allahabad High Court has allowed the Ram temple at the disputed site on the plea that Hindus believed he was born there.
“The situation no longer is faith versus law, it is faith upheld by law,” wrote senior BJP leader L.K. Advani on Sunday in his blog, setting the line of defence for the party.
Advani said, “As both the RSS and the BJP have emphasised, this judgment has given judicial recognition to the fact that millions in the country believe that the make-shift temple where Ram Lalla is presently installed is Ramjanmabhoomi.”
Advani added, “The country has arrived at a fortuitous point, where a combination of Option 2 (judicial verdict) and 3 (amicable settlement involving Hindus and Muslims) can well be blended.” (The first option being passing by Parliament.)
The BJP’s view is that Ram’s birth place was one of the issues before the high court. “What I understand is (that) one or some of the issues in judgment was (that) it was an issue in a civil suit and a civil suit is not a generalised thing,” said Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.
“There are pleadings, there are issues which are raised, and there are issues which are framed. And the issue was: is this place perceived to be a place of worship where Lord Ram was born or was his janmasthan,” Jaitley told Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate programme.
Jaitley held this perception was an issue, and this having been framed as an issue, both parties have led evidence and addressed the arguments. “The judges are bound to answer it.”
The BJP is also set to counter the criticism by Left-leaning historians of a “highly disputed” Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report, which was taken into consideration by the high court.
Jaitley said: “The court appoints the ASI as an agency. The ASI hires the best international experts. Once there is cross-examination on this report, once you grilled the ASI for days together and the judges gave their opinion, it is no longer a disputed subject to the right of appeal. That becomes a fact.”
He added: “Historians are entitled to criticise the judgment but India will be governed by the one delivered by a court and not by the opinion of some politically inclined historians. Ultimately, in a democratic society which is governed by constitutionalism, you can’t have convenience at constitutionalism.”