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Booster dose for BJP

The Ayodhya verdict has visibly relieved the BJP, which had been in two minds over Hindutva and the desire to enter the liberal space after its recent electoral decline.

delhi Updated: Oct 01, 2010 23:38 IST
Vikas Pathak

The Ayodhya verdict has visibly relieved the BJP, which had been in two minds over Hindutva and the desire to enter the liberal space after its recent electoral decline.

The verdict in favour of a temple has made the two lines converge.

The party can now say that it “delivered” Ram Janmabhoomi to Hindus — tentatively “fulfilling” the Rath Yatra promise — and thus claim Hindutva legitimacy.

“At some stage, you have to deliver too in a fight. If you fight a lion and it eats you up, you gain nothing,” said a senior BJP leader. “Now we have scored one tangible victory and none can say that the BJP conveniently left the Ram temple movement.”

This apart, the party is also asserting that its acceptance of the verdict proves its commitment to constitutional methods, thus claiming the liberal and constitutional space, too.

“There were elements who were emphasising in the run-up to the verdict that the BJP should accept it gracefully. We welcome the verdict as a positive roadmap,” said a BJP leader. “Now they are the ones who are unhappy even though the Muslim community is making positive gestures.”

The verdict has also upheld a prime Hindutva premise: “historical wrongs” were committed on Hindus in medieval times, which “can” be corrected now.

The party’s recent dilemma was whether it should embrace Hindutva or a liberal, “pro-development” position.

Some leaders had blamed Varun Gandhi’s alleged speeches before the 15th Lok Sabha defeat and argued that the party needed a modernist look. The RSS and those close to it had, however, stood by Hindutva. Both would see this verdict as a victory.

The BJP’s official position remains one of “moderation”, for the party is unsure whether the Ayodhya issue holds much popular appeal.

Though it has voiced moderation in recent times, it may ditch it if Hindutva recaptures the popular imagination in future. Till then, it may chart a liberal path, with the judgment helping it brush off charges of ignoring its core issues.

Minority hurt, says Paswan

Patna: LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan has said the high court verdict had brought disappointment among the minority but they should not take it as final. “The minority should not take the verdict as final as the aggrieved parties are preparing to appeal in Supreme Court.”

Seer differs from Shahi Imam

New Delhi: Kanchi Seer Jayendra Saraswati on Friday welcomed the judgment, saying it would bring communal amity, while the chief cleric of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari termed it “unacceptable”. “We cannot accept a decision made in a closed room,” he said.

Govt extends bulk sms ban

New Delhi: The government has extended till October 4 the ban on bulk SMSes and MMSes to check any propaganda post-verdict. “We have decided to extend the ban till October 4 in consultation with the ministry of home affairs,” a senior DoT official said.

Verdict sad, focus on stir: Geelani

Srinagar: Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said he was saddened by the verdict. “Demolishing a mosque is a cause of concern for Muslims.” He said the people of Kashmir, who were engaged in a “movement”, should follow the protest schedule.

Justice Sharma demits office

Lucknow: Justice Dharam Veer Sharma, one of the three judges who gave their verdict in the Ayodhya title dispute, demitted office on Friday. Justice Sharma was given a warm farewell by members of the Oudh Bar Association in the evening.