'Venkaiah sabotaged Ram temple'
Two or three senior BJP leaders, including former party president Venkaiah Naidu, had sabotaged serious efforts to construct a Ram Temple at Ayodhya during the last days of NDA regime, expelled BJP leader Uma Bharti has claimed.
"During the last days of NDA government, we had made serious efforts for the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya and had held talks with Atalji.
"He had entrusted the responsibility of this work to me and Arun Jaitley, but some officials of the PMO, who wanted a way out of the temple construction, did not favour a role of the VHP in this," Bharti said in a TV programme.
She said, "such attitude of these officials complicated the issue which led to delays. The efforts were to hand over the undisputed site of Lord Ram's birthplace to Ram Janam Bhoomi Nyas, and there was no problem as this land was under the control of the Central government."
"However, the BJP victory in assembly elections in three states in November 2003 gave a false impression to the then party president Venkaiah Naidu that it was because of him that the party emerged victorious."
He, along with two-three other leaders, floated the idea that the BJP-led NDA alliance would be able to win third consecutive term at the Centre, and that the temple agenda could be brought at a later stage.
"Therefore, in the greed of forming a third consecutive government at the Centre, these leaders gave up the temple issue, despite best efforts from people like me. They sacrificed our basic aim," the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said.
Asked how she now defined the party with which she had been associated for years, Bharti said, "Unfortunately, the tragedy of BJP has been that when the culture of political management spread in the country, such managers began to dominate the party and stalwarts like Atal Behari Vajpayee and LK Advani did not play the role expected of them, which led to the weakening of the party."
"I decided to get out of this mess and by doing so I have fulfilled my national duty, as the option before me was to either become like political managers or not to accept the hijacking of the party. I chose the latter.
"I could not have been a part of this process, where fund raisers were taking the place of political leaders."
Spelling out her future plans, Uma Bharti said, "On April 30 in Varanasi, we would like all those who firmly believe in the ideology of Deen Dayal Upadhyay, to come and join hands in the new party. Based on our basic principles, I am confident that in 10 years time we would be on the centre-stage of Indian politics."