Monday, Jun 30, 2003
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``The 1999 parliamentary elections were fought on the NDA agenda which did not talk about a legislation for the settlement of the Ayodhya dispute, and hence, there is no question of the resignation of Mr. Vajpayee or Mr. Advani or seeking a fresh mandate,'' the BJP general secretary, Pramod Mahajan, told reporters here.
Though the BJP was for a legislation, it was not possible to take such an initiative as the Government was of the NDA whose Common Minimum Programme for governance is silent on the issue, he said.
Asked about the VHP leader, Ashok Singhal's statement that several NDA partners seemed to agree on a legislation, Mr. Mahajan said if the Samata Party leader, George Fernandes, and the Trinamool Congress chief, Mamata Banerjee, were in favour of such a move ``they should declare it publicly and not the VHP.''
On the charge that the BJP had abandoned the "liberation" issue of Kashi and Mathura, he said both the issues were not on the party's agenda, and therefore, there was no question of abandoning them.
He also said that without amending the 1993 Religious Worship Act, the status of any religious place cannot be changed as it directed maintenance of status quo.
Mr. Mahajan dismissed the VHP's opposition to hold talks with the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) because it viewed the Board as a fundamentalist organisation.
``Since the law has not defined who a fundamentalist is, there should be discussion with everyone to resolve the issue.''
On the VHP's demand for a ban on the AIMPLB, Mr. Mahajan said: ``imposing a ban on any organisation would not solve any problem.''
He said at the 1989 Palanpur session, the BJP had passed a resolution to bring in legislation to construct a temple at Ayodhya when Mr. Advani was the party president and Mr. Vajpayee was its parliamentary party leader.
The BJP election manifesto had clearly announced having a temple in Ayodhya and it was done with Mr. Vajpayee's permission.
Accordingly, it figured in the 1991, 1996 and 1998 manifestos and it was wrong to say that Mr. Vajpayee had opposed or disassociated himself from the issue, he said.
On the BJP's strained relations with the VHP on the temple issue, Mr. Mahajan said only his party and the Shiv Sena supported the outfit's all three proposals for the settlement of the vexed dispute and he failed to understand why there was a decrease in the love and affection from their (VHP's) side.
On accepting the Archaeological Survey of India's excavation report as the final evidence, Mr. Mahajan said the ASI report would not be the final determining factor as they have been asked by the court to assist them. The court will take a final decision, he said.
Meet to discuss poll strategy
The BJP would draft an action plan for the Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi and discuss this year's organisational polls and next year's Lok Sabha election during its three-day national executive meeting to be held here from July 18, the party's national general secretary, Pramod Mahajan, told reporters here today.
Besides the current political situation, the meeting will also discuss the `Mission 2004' for the Lok Sabha polls likely to be held in September next year. The meeting, to be attended by 150 office-bearers and Ministers, would begin with the inaugural address by the party president, M. Venkaiah Naidu. The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, would deliver the concluding speech.
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