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VHP upset at BJP?s silence over Ayodhya

THOUGH the Prime Minister has not yet taken a stand against the VHP's 'Ayodhya chalo' call, there is a marked lack of enthusiasm in the BJP here. And nothing seems to irk the VHP more than the BJP's bid to distance itself from the temple movement. BJP MP Mahant Adityanath, who proposes to lead 50,000 Ram bhakts to Ayodhya on October 15, says: "There is no active involvement of the BJP in the programme. They are only making public statements."

india Updated: Oct 14, 2003 01:22 IST

THOUGH the Prime Minister has not yet taken a stand against the VHP's 'Ayodhya chalo' call, there is a marked lack of enthusiasm in the BJP here. And nothing seems to irk the VHP more than the BJP's bid to distance itself from the temple movement.

BJP MP Mahant Adityanath, who proposes to lead 50,000 Ram bhakts to Ayodhya on October 15, says: "There is no active involvement of the BJP in the programme. They are only making public statements." The MP from Gorakhpur says the BJP extended no help in the VHP's mass mobilisation programme in Eastern UP, though the party could have easily contributed to its success.

"Where is the problem now, when the party is not in power in UP?" he wonders, obviously referring to the BJP's policy on the temple issue so far — dump it when in power and embrace it when out of power. This is the first time in recent times that the party is not in power at the time of VHP's Ayodhya progamme. Even at the time of VHP's shila daan in March 2002, the state was under President's rule. And since the BJP-led central government was imposing restrictions in Ayodhya, the party's participation was least expected. State BJP president Vinay Katiyar has clarified that the party has not imposed any restrictions on the participation of party leaders in the VHP's programme. But he makes no bones that "all those who wish to participate in the October 17 progamme will have to do so in their individual capacity, as Ram bhakts. I will be present at the sammelan, but as a Ram bhakt".

As of now, no BJP MLA or MP officially plans to be in Ayodhya on October 17 — barring those who are already in saffron robes like Mahant Adityanath. According to the Mahant, Gonda MP Brij Bhushan Shaan Singh and Basti MP Ram Nagina Mishra may also be present. As for Swamy Chinmayanand, who has been in the forefront of the VHP's temple movement, the roles will be reversed this time. As Union Minister of State for Home, his role would be to stop Ram bhakts from reaching Ayodhya rather than smuggling them into the temple town.

First Published: Oct 14, 2003 01:22 IST