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Singhal stand causes flutter in BJP

india Updated: Sep 19, 2006 01:33 IST

VHP distances itself from temple move

VISHWA HINDU Parishad chief Ashok Singhal has distanced himself from the BJP’s decision to play up the temple card in the assembly elections.

Singhal said since the party never pursued the temple issue seriously, nor put it on its priority list when in power, the BJP had no moral right to raise and use  the issue, involving religious sentiments of Hindus, for poll gains.

“What has the BJP done so far for construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya?” Singhal asked and said people had lost faith in the BJP.   

In contrast, the Rashtriya Swyamsewak Sangh (RSS) has decided to take over the BJP’s  campaign in the elections. It has already chalked out a strategy for it in consultation with State BJP leaders. The RSS has directed al its units to concentrate on rural areas where the BJP is weak and distribute specially-prepared literature about the temple and organise meetings to highlight failures of the Mulayam Government and the UPA. 

The VHP leader’s damaging announcement has caused a flutter in the BJP. The State BJP bosses, who always take the VHP for granted to provide a fillip to their temple campaign, are shocked by the stand as the party, which is looking for emotive vote-catching issues, has decided to raise the temple issue in a big way. The BJP, riven by factionalism, has been struggling to regain its popularity.

Singhal, in a meeting of VHP senior leaders at Dehradun last year, had threatened to launch another political outfit with the sole purpose of building the temple, snapping ties with the BJP.  

Singhal’s statement has come at a time when former Chief Minister and in-charge of the UP affairs Kalyan Singh is scheduled to visit Ayodhya on September 26 for ‘darshan’ of Ramlala before formally launching the election campaign in the State. Incidentally, the only BJP leader whom Singhal has given a clean chit is again Kalyan Singh. Kalyan never regretted the demolition and never dubbed December 6 a Black Day, like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani did.

Expressing surprise at Singhal’s unexpected statement,  senior BJP leader Lalji Tandon said Singhal was ‘frustrated’ as he failed to mobilise support for the temple construction which was a complicated issue due to legal and other implications. As the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee did everything possible to solve the contentious issue amicably but failed, he said.

Singhal’s grouse could stem from LK Advani’s decision to go to Ayodhya for ‘parikrama’ with Shankracharya of Puri, who was supposed to be in the Congress camp, said Tandon, adding that the VHP was now afraid that the BJP might take over the temple issue.

Hence, the uncalled for outburst.

Talking to Hindustan Times, State VHP chief Purushottam Singh,  preferred to follow Singhal’s line. He said whatever Singhal decided was the last word for the VHP and its leaders.

He also complained that the BJP had ditched not only the VHP, but also crores of Hindus  on the Mandir issue. 

In the present scenario, the so-called Hindu organisations seem to be confused, adding to the BJP’s problems.

It is probably for the first time that the VHP, the RSS and the BJP are not sure of their strategy and policy on the emotive Ram Janmabhoomi issue and the ultimate sufferer would obviously be the BJP, that too when the crucial Vidhan Sabha elections in the State are round the corner.