Thursday, Jul 10, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
"For us, Hindutva is not an election issue but an ideological commitment (hindutva hamari vichar dhara se juda hua hai),'' the BJP spokesperson, Prakash Javadekar, said today. When pressed why the party did not think in terms of legislation to resolve the Ayodhya issue, he said that at Raipur, perhaps, the party could think about ways of bringing a consensus, although at the moment there was no question of this as it was not on the agenda of the National Democratic Alliance.
The demand of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) that the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, must bring forward legislation to resolve the Ayodhya issue or else resign, was apparently discussed at the high-level meeting at Mr. Vajpayee's residence last night attended by the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh, and the BJP president, Venkaiah Naidu. It was felt that there was simply no case for such a demand.
It was in the context of its firm "ideological commitment to Hindutva'' that the party was asked about its views on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the VHP demand on Kashi and Mathura.
Mr. Javadekar said it was currently not an issue for the BJP. "We know when to speak about it (`hum jaante hain kab bolna hai iske baare mein'),'' he added, hinting that in future the party could take these up as its own issues.
A number of issues which would be taken up at the three-day Raipur meeting to be attended by the Prime Minister for two days were discussed at the late evening meeting at Mr. Vajpayee's residence. Some of these have been identified as items for action by the Government as well: a commission for considering reservation for the economically weak among the upper castes; a commission for the handicapped, an affordable comprehensive health insurance for the common man; a lower rate of interest on loans for farmers; and granting of full statehood for Delhi. The party's calculation is that these steps could help it electorally in the coming Assembly elections.
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