New Delhi, April 19
The government today virtually dismissed the idea of resignation by Uma Bharti from the Cabinet besides describing as “hypothetical” the possibility of the Supreme Court ruling in the Babri case impacting the selection of candidates for presidential and vice-presidential poll. Senior party leader Arun Jaitley said the case had been going on since 1993. “Somehow it is going on and no new situation has arisen. So the situation which was prevailing will continue,” he said while responding to queries on the impact of the ruling on the future of Union Minister Uma Bharti and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh. On whether today’s apex court ruling could impact selection of candidates for the posts of President and Vice-President, Jaitley called the question “hypothetical”. The two top Constitutional posts are falling vacant this year and speculation is rife in Delhi’s political circles about the possibility of veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi — members of the BJP’s “margdarshak mandal” — being projected as the BJP candidate for the posts. Sources claim PM Narendra Modi himself suggested Advani’s name for the next President at a meeting in Gujarat, a sort of “guru dakshina”. Advani has been less visible in politics since the new guard took over in 2014 and is also believed to be not on very happy terms with the current leadership. Sources, however, say the PM is in favour of seeing him occupy the President’s post. The BJP leadership believes it to be a “non-issue” and if the rather belligerent reactions of Bharti and top Hindutva leaders like Vinay Katiyar are any indication, neither the BJP nor anyone in the Sangh are much perturbed over today’s developments in the court. Two years, they say, is a long time and the ruling can be used as an opportunity to build a grand Ram Temple at Ayodhya. Core group discusses verdict A couple of hours after the Supreme Court verdict on the Babri mosque demolition that put into the dock the party’s sidelined veterans Advani and Joshi, BJP leaders assembled at PM Modi’s residence to discuss its political and legal fallout. Party chief Amit Shah and Union Ministers Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and M Venkaiah Naidu remained huddled there for two hours. However, playing down its significance, senior leaders said several issues, including the Kashmir crisis, were discussed. But coming in backdrop of the SC verdict that allows the CBI to put veterans Advani, Joshi and Bharti on trial, it is understood the leadership explored various options to deal with it. Bharti, who earlier in the day said she would go to Ayodhya tonight, cancelled her visit “after being advised” by the party leadership. Clearly, BJP does not want any over-the-top reactions and would also not like the message to go out that those who spearheaded the Hindutva movement and gave BJP a new identity are being left alone to fend for themselves when the party is in power at the Centre as well as UP.
‘Modi must walk the talk on morality’ As far as other issues are concerned, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is always committed to the cause of morality. Those are his public pronouncements. Occasionally, he forgets morality when it comes to his ministers. Let’s hope he doesn’t forget (it) this time… Today’s development is like a new film ‘25 saal baad’, on the lines of ‘20 saal baad’, which will finish in the next two years — Kapil SIbal, former Cong minister ‘PM crafting Advani trial through CBI’ The Supreme Court order allowing trial of top BJP leaders in the Babri Masjid case is a well-thought-out politics of the Prime Minister to remove LK Advani’s name from the Presidential race. The CBI is under the influence of PM Modi. It stood in the Supreme Court and sought permission to run trial against Advani and others in the Babri Masjid demolition case — Lalu Prasad, RJD chief ‘Chargesheet no basis to quit’ This case is going on since 1993. Somehow it is going on and no new situation has arisen. If that (resignation) was the criteria, some of the current Congress CMs will have to quit. There have been ministers, there have been deputy PMs… If chargesheet is the rule (to resign), then just calculate how many Congress chief ministers will have to go — Arun Jaitley, Union Minister ‘More Serious than Gandhiji’s killing’ Mahatma Gandhi assassination trial completed in 2 years & Babri Masjid demolition which (is) more serious than MK Gandhi killing not yet decided. Gandhi’s killers were convicted (and) hanged & Babri accused have been made Union Ministers, conferred Padma Vibhushan, justice system moves slowly… Those responsible for the nation’s shame in 1992 are now running the country — Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM chief
25 years on, Babri masjid demolition ghost back to haunt BJP veterans Oct 1993: CBI files composite charge sheet accusing Advani and others of conspiracy May 4, 2001: Special CBI court drops proceedings against accused, including Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti, Bal Thackeray and others Nov 2, 2004: CBI challenges before Lucknow Bench of Allahabad HC dropping of proceedings on technical grounds; court issues notices May 20, 2010: High Court dismisses plea, says no merit in CBI’s revision petition Feb 2011: CBI moves SC against HC order March 6, 2017: SC hints may consider reviving conspiracy charge against the BJP leaders March 21: SC suggests fresh attempts to resolve Ayodhya dispute April 6: Supreme Court favours time-bound completion of trial in the case and reserves order on the CBI’s petition April 19: SC restores criminal conspiracy charge against leaders including Advani, Joshi and Union Cabinet Minister Uma Bharti in the case and clubs the trial in the matter pending against VIPs and karsevaks