Babari spectre to haunt UP polls


NEW DELHI, June 10. – The ghost of the Babari mosque demolition looks set to return to the centrestage as the political parties warming up for Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections appear to be turning to this emotive issue despite the destruction it left behind in the past.

The apparent unwillingness of the BJP-led Raj Nath Singh government to issue fresh notification in the Masjid demolition case involving Union ministers Mr LK Advani, Dr MM Joshi and Ms Uma Bharati, irrespective of the court pointing out certain technical error in the earlier notification, has paved way for the revival of the temple-mosque politics on the eve of Assembly elections.

Sources at the Centre do not see possibility of the state government issuing fresh notification on its own or the BJP leadership or the Vajpayee government directing it to do so. CBI sources told The Statesman that since the ball is in the state government’s court, the investigating agency can not act on its own.

The hardcore BJP leadership is apparently determined not do anything that will lead to the formal chargesheeting and consequently the demand for the resignation of Mr Advani and Mr Joshi.

Sources say the Sangh Parivar would prefer the fall of the Vajpyaee government to jeopardising the positions of Mr Advani and Dr Joshi. They say the Prime Minister, aware of this, was actually sending out a signal to the NDA allies when he termed the Ram temple movement as the reflection of the popular sentiment. Notably there not has been much noise from within the NDA on this ground recently.

Further the soft stand on the Ayodhya case, the sources say, would help the BJP play the hard Hindu card with the hope to regain its base in the upper castes which has been eroding of late in UP. The party is also hoping to tie up with Mr Ajit Singh with an eye on the Jat voters which amount to around 30 per cent in western UP.

The Congress, which is hoping to regain some flesh in its UP skeleton, is set to go overboard. AICC general secretary, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad said his party would soon launch a statewide agitation against the refusal of the state government to issue fresh notifications. Around 18 per cent Muslim and 22 per cent Dalit votebanks, which are mostly skeptical of the Hindutva politics, are a major temptation for the Congress’s much-hyped comeback plan.

Mr Azad also said the party would rather try to settle the Babari issue in the people’s court than taking it to the legal court, making the intentions clear.

But Mr Amar Singh, general secretary of the Samata Party which is resenting the Congress bid to share its pie, said both the Congress and the BJP are equally responsible for the demolition of the mosque. Nobody in UP is going to be fooled by the Congress postures. People in UP know both Sonia Gandhi and BJP are hand in glove. They also remember it was the Congress regime that unlocked the disputed cite and performed shilanyas, he told The Statesman.

The SP is planning a statewide agitation on the Ayodhya issue on 9 July. The SP, more or less secure of its base in the Muslim and Yadav vote bank which together amounts to around 28 to 30 per cent, has been trying to make inroads into a section of upper castes like the Rajput to get the cutting-edge over the BJP. Therefore it remains to see whether the party would go overboard on the Ayodhya issue or will make it a talking point while focusing more on the farmers’ issues and poor law and order situation.

The Left ,is bound to piggy-back on SP in the name of Peoples Front and will follow the same line of action. CPI leader, Mr Shameem Faizee, while saying Ayodhya is going to be one of the issues that they will raise in UP also pointed out that the original petitioner of the Ayodhya case has moved the Supreme Court against the unwillingness of the UP government to issue fresh notification.

The tune which the BSP choses to sing will also play a decisive role in the run up to the emotive political battle for UP.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: June 12, 2001
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