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Joshi: I?ll quit if charged in Babri case

A SERIES of developments in the courts in the next few days may set the pace for the BJP's Hindutva politics, which remain the party's best bet to woo voters in the coming assembly polls. Firstly, the Special Court at Rae Bareli, which is hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case, is to pronounce its order on Friday on the framing of charges against Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, HRD Minister M.M. Joshi and six others.

india Updated: Sep 19, 2003 02:59 IST

A SERIES of developments in the courts in the next few days may set the pace for the BJP's Hindutva politics, which remain the party's best bet to woo voters in the coming assembly polls.

Firstly, the Special Court at Rae Bareli, which is hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case, is to pronounce its order on Friday on the framing of charges against Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, HRD Minister M.M. Joshi and six others.

Secondly, the Supreme Court has asked the chief secretary and the director-general of police of Gujarat to be present on Friday to explain who drafted the "eye-wash" of an appeal in the Gujarat High Court against the acquittal of all the 21 accused in the "Best Bakery" case. It had earlier asked the Modi government to render justice to the riot victims or quit.

Thirdly, a designated CBI court in Bhubaneswar, which convicted Dara Singh and 12 others for the killing of Australian missionary Graham Staines, will award the sentence on September 22.

Besides, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court is to resume hearing in the case concerning the disputed site at Ayodhya in the wake of the ASI report that a temple existed prior to the Babri Masjid.

The BJP leadership has braced itself for the Rae Bareli court's pronouncement. As Advani conferred with RSS Joint General Secretary Madan Das Devi, Joshi declared he would quit if charges were framed against him.

Joshi said it was "normal protocol" that a minister against whom charges were framed should quit. His statement created a flutter in the BJP circles as it meant that Advani might have to step down. The party's official position is that they need not resign because it is a political case. One view is that Advani should become BJP chief and resume his yatra all over the country.

Asked if Advani and others should also quit, Joshi said, "Ask them. I have nothing to say about them. This is my view. I can't tell about anyone else. If charges are framed against me, I will tender my resignation."

When asked why he would resign when the BJP thought it was a political case, Joshi said, "It is up to the Prime Minister to decide what he considers of the order. It is up to the party to decide."

Joshi dismissed suggestions that his quitting could create a crisis for the government. "Why will it create a crisis for the government? I am in the party, in Parliament, in the BJP and in the NDA."

First Published: Sep 19, 2003 02:45 IST