Sunday, Jul 20, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI JULY 19. The Opposition parties and the allies of the ruling National Democratic Alliance alike have opposed any move for legislation to facilitate the construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya.
The Congress described the move as an "escapist exercise" on the part of the BJP. "When they cannot face up to the sister organisations of the Sangh Parivar, they throw the ball in the court of the Opposition," said the party spokesperson, Jaipal Reddy.
Describing the legislation as neither "politically desirable or legally sustainable", he said it went against the spirit of the Constitution as Parliament could not "take sides between two communities."
The Janata Dal (United), a constituent of the ruling NDA, today joined major Opposition parties in voicing its opposition.
While the Opposition parties closed their ranks and promised to vote against any such legislation, the JD(U) was categorical in its stand. "We are totally opposed to this,'' said its general secretary, K.C. Tyagi. "We see no reason why Parliament should legislate on such a matter, it should either be decided by the courts or through negotiations."
The CPI(M) politburo member, Prakash Karat, described the move as "part of the continuing effort to subvert the judicial process to ensure the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya. We will oppose the legislation tooth and nail in both Houses of Parliament," said Mr. Karat.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal leader, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, called on all Opposition parties to formulate a strategy to defeat the legislation when it came up in Parliament. "They first went and demolished the mosque and now they want to sanctify it by getting Parliament to legislate on it, we will never allow this to happen."
The proposed move also came in for criticism from the Lok Dal president, Ajit Singh. "This cannot be allowed to happen, my party will oppose this both inside and outside Parliament."
The question does not arise," Mr. Mahajan said adding that "there is no need for give and take", during negotiations.
He also denied that the adoption of an Ayodhya resolution at this juncture was to make it a poll issue or to "test the waters" to see if it would catch the imagination of the people. Party members see the exercise as part of a larger effort to mend relations with the VHP at a time when its cadre can be more than useful during elections.
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