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Opposition blames BJP for using Ram temple issue to polarise voters

Several opposition parties said on Monday they would honour the Supreme Court’s decision in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute and blamed the BJP of trying to use the sensitive issue to polarise the electorate.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2018 22:37 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
New Delhi/Mumbai/Hyderabad
BJP,Ram temple,Ram mandir
Former finance minister P Chidambaram dismissed allegations by BJP leader Vinay Katiyar that the issue was being delayed “under pressure” from the Congress.(PTI/File Photo)

Several opposition parties said on Monday they would honour the Supreme Court’s decision in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute and blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of trying to use the sensitive issue to polarise the electorate.

Hours after the top court deferred the hearing into the title suit to January, the Congress called for restraint without linking the issue to “votebank politics”.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram dismissed allegations by BJP leader Vinay Katiyar that the issue was being delayed “under pressure” from the Congress. “Well, this is a familiar story. Every five years before elections, the BJP tries to polarise views on Ram Mandir,” he said.

The Samajwadi Party said its stand on the issue was that the dispute should either be decided by an out-of-court settlement or all parties should respect the court’s decision.

“Our stand remains unchanged. But it is the BJP and RSS that do not respect the court and the constitution. We have faith in the court and if it has decided to adjourn the hearing till January and if it has refused to UP government’s plea of early hearing request, then it must have decided things on their merit. We won’t like to comment on it,” said Rajendra Chaudhary, the authorised spokesperson of the Samajwadi Party.

His comments came amid growing clamour from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for a central legislation in the winter session of Parliament to facilitate the construction of a Ram temple. But opposition leaders described these demands as attempts to communalise the issue.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi said his party would honour the SC judgment of the Supreme Court bench and challenged the government to bring a law or ordinance. “Let them do it, if they can, as they are in power,” he said.

“When the Chief Justice of India has the considered view that an appropriate bench would decide on the Babri Masjid issue, what else can we do? Uttar Pradesh government wanted the judgment in November, but the SC bench said it would be done in January. We have to honour it,” he added.

The Shiv Sena, an ally of the BJP, said that the deferment by the Supreme Court was “expected” as there are other priorities before the court.

“Whatever order the SC would pass is a different thing, but the government can go ahead with an ordinance. The kind of mandate on which the government has come to power, the BJP has that responsibility. And since it has the majority they should opt for ordinance. Shiv Sena has been reminding the BJP this because we are responsible to the people of India, their religion, their faith. The onus is on the government to perform and it is time to go for that (ordinance),” said Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena secretary Anil Desai.

Party chief Uddhav Thackeray is scheduled to reach Ayodhya on November 25 for a “darshan” at the makeshift temple that exists at the disputed site currently.

First Published: Oct 29, 2018 22:37 IST