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January 27, 2002
19:25 IST

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VHP will not depend on March 12 deadline: Das

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi

Mahant Parmahans Ramchandra Das, who led the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's 12-member delegation which met prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Sunday, warned that although the government had time till March 12 to construct the Ram temple at Ayodhya, the sants would not depend on the deadline to achieve their objective.

Talking to reporters outside Vajpayee's Race Course Road residence where the two-and-a-half hour meeting was held, Das pointed out that the VHP delegation had informed the prime minister, Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and Defence Minister George Fernandes of their demand for the land to construct the temple.

He said the prime minister and his cabinet colleagues listened to the sants' demands. However, the prime minister wanted more time to decide whether the land should be given or not, Das emphasised. He added that Vajpayee told the delegation that he still had time before the deadline to take a decision on the issue.

Das stressed that the VHP would not construct the temple with the help of the government or the court but with the support of Hindus and 'Ram bhakts'. He said the VHP's 'Chetavani Yatra' had been brought to Delhi to remind the prime minister to solve the Ayodhya dispute. The VHP's efforts to build the Ram temple at Ayodhya would continue, he said. "We have taken some things from various governments and from this government we want the construction of the temple," he added.

The VHP delegation also included its president Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and his senior party colleagues Ashok Singh, Nrityagopal Das, Mahant Avaidyanath and Santoshi Ma.

Dalmiya later told rediff.com that the Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal would meet on Monday morning to decide the future course of action to remove any impediments that might come in the way of the construction.

Later, Defence Minister Fernandes told reporters that the prime minister had decided to refer the Ayodhya dispute case on the following points:

a) How the case relating to the disputed land in Ayodhya (which has been under consideration by the court for a long time) can be expedited

b) The legal and constitutional aspects of handing over the undisputed land to the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas

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