Ayodhya row spurs race for minority votes
The demand for a fresh notification in the Ayodhya case has sparked off a race among the main Opposition parties, mainly the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress, to win the minority votes.
Notwithstanding the Election Commission's statement that the Vidhan Sabha elections in UP are scheduled in March 2002, there are apprehensions in political circles over the possibility of polls in October.
In such an event, the Opposition parties -- the SP, BSP and Congress -- are trying to make the most in the current session of the Vidhan Sabha. Cashing in on the Ayodhya issue they have started a slinging match against each other to cash in the Muslim votes.
Each party is trying to outwit the other and have thereby stepped up their demand for rectification in the notification for trial of the 21 accused including the three Union Ministers in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
Both the Congress as well as the BSP have stepped up their efforts to break the monopoly of the SP as far as the minority votes are concerned.
The issue rocked the Vidhan Sabha for two consecutive days. However, the Rajnath Singh Government wriggled out of the situation by saying that the matter was between the CBI and the court and it was in no position to issue a fresh notification. Importantly the recent court judgement came as a boon for the ruling BJP as it simply stated that there was a fault in the earlier notification which could be "cured".
The absence of any clear directive helped the BJP to get away by simply saying that it was examining the legal aspects of the case.
On the other hand the SP, BSP and Congress are mounting pressure on the Government in the Vidhan Sabha as well as outside to rectify the lacuna in the notification and issue a fresh notification for trial of the top BJP leaders including L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharati.
The All-India Babri Masjid Action Committee has already threatened to move the Supreme Court on the issue.
Interestingly, instead of putting the BJP Government on the dock in the Ayodhya notification case in the Vidhan Sabha, the Congress and BSP have taken on each other. Trading charges the Congress and BSP blamed each other for helping the BJP.
The BSP described the Congress and BJP as two sides of the same coin and held the Congress equally responsible for demolition of the Ayodhya structure.
The Congress retorted and accused the BSP for tying up with with communal forces so that its (BSP) leader could occupy the Chief Minister's chair.
Leaving the Congress and BSP to sort out the fight for Muslim votes, the SP was confident in its claim as the "saviour" of the minorities. After raising the matter in the Vidhan Sabha, the Opposition is planning to rake up the issue of fresh notification among the public, specially with an eye on the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections. But it remains to be seen whether this can once again evoke the desired response as the issue no longer holds any interest for the electorate.