The opening day of the Lok Sabha debate on the Liberhan report turned out to be a tame and predictable affair, with party representatives sticking to their established political positions — 17 years after the Babri Masjid demolition.
BJP chief Rajnath Singh tried to balance between defending Hindutva and demolishing the report, yet conveyed to Parliament exactly what the RSS wanted: no regret and firm commitment to the Ram temple cause.
Singh made it clear there was not even a hint of regret over the demolition because it was a temple in the first place, which, he held, was razed to make way for the disputed structure in 1528. He also reaffirmed the BJP’s commitment to the cause, brushing aside the moderates in the party.
Singh disclosed: “When the BJP, which was part of the NDA, was in power, it could not deliver on its promise (on building the temple) despite trying its best.”
Singh’s 80-minute speech largely echoed the Sangh Parivar’s stand that the events of December 6, 1992, were not planned but an outburst of the people gathered at the site — a line taken by the Justice P.K. Bahri tribunal, which quashed the ban on the Sangh imposed in the wake of the demolition.
Singh also defended then UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, who was blamed in the report, indicating that the party may welcome him back. “Why are questions being raised about Kalyan Singh’s assurance to the Supreme Court when the Congress too had failed to honour its 1945 commitment not to allow the Partition?”
Kalyan Singh, however, came in for flak from the Congress that alleged a “BJP conspiracy” behind the demolition and said then PM P.V. Narsimha Rao was unaware of the ulterior motives of the Sangh Parivar.
Jagadambika Pal said as then CM he had failed to uphold the assurances given to the Supreme Court to prevent damage to the disputed building.
The most forceful and relevant point came from CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta, who said that — rather than punitive action — the best punishment for those responsible for the event was to ensure their “political isolation”.
Pointing to the BJP, Dasgupta said: “The danger of fundamentalism is not dead. The philosophy of political intolerance, hatred and fundamentalism that resulted in the destruction of the mosque is present even in this House.”
Intervening in the debate, Congress leader Salman Khurshid blamed the BJP for attempting to rupture the country’s social fabric for political gains.JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said the mosque was brought down because the
Congress and BJP were hand in glove at that time. Speaking in similar vein, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav said the Congress was no less responsible.