The Congress on Wednesday said the guilty in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case should be punished, and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that his ministerial colleagues maintained a “high standard of morality” in an apparent reference to Uma Bharti.
While the main opposition party was guarded in its reaction, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad sought to use the Supreme Court ruling allowing the CBI to restore a criminal conspiracy charge against Bharti and BJP veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi in the demolition case to create a wedge in the ruling party.
Prasad claimed that it was a “well-thought-out politics” on the part of the Prime Minister to remove Advani’s name from the Presidential race. “The CBI is under the Prime Minister’s influence. It stood in the Supreme Court and sought permission to run trial against Advani and others,” he alleged.
“Since Advani’s name was in circulation as a probable for the President’s post, Modi through well-thought-out politics struck out his name,” Prasad said.
As far as the Congress is concerned, there is a realisation that pursuing the issue aggressively and politically might backfire as the judgement is expected to come by 2019 when the general elections are due. Hence, the party would want the law to take its own course.
“It is eventually going to be a Mandir-Masjid issue and the timing is also crucial. We are not going to fall into any trap,” a senior Congress functionary said on the condition of anonymity.
On record, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “The Supreme Court has spoken. Let justice be done and the guilty punished. The law is equal for everyone irrespective of stature, caste, creed, religion or region.”
His colleagues Kapil Sibal and Manish Tewari also expressed satisfaction over the order. While Tewari said the ruling is satisfying but delayed, Sibal hoped that Modi would remember his “pronouncements” on morality.
“Our Prime Minister is always very committed to the cause of morality. Occasionally, he forgets morality when it comes to his ministers. Let us hope he doesn’t forget it this time,” Sibal said.