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No secret agenda on Ayodhya, coalitions
impose certain limitations: Venkaiah Naidu


Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai | June 21, 2003 05:02 IST

Asserting that his party favoured construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, Bharatiya Janata Party president M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said it had to keep the wishes of its allies in mind while going about attaining its goal.

M Venkaiah Naidu. Pic: Jewella C Miranda

"Coalitions impose certain limitations," Naidu told mediapersons in Mumbai after the conclusion of the party's four-day Chintan Baithak (brainstorming session) in Uttan, in neighbouring Thane district.

"The BJP favours construction of a Ram temple. We can solve the (Ayodhya) dispute either by legislation, through the judiciary or by talks."

"At present, we are not going to propose legislation because of opposition from our allies," he said.

Commenting on the proposed meeting of Union Ministers Jaswant Singh and George Fernandes with Kanchi shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, Naidu said, "This is a democracy and everyone will make efforts to find a solution (to the vexed issue)."

"We have no secret agenda on Ayodhya. If an individual makes an attempt to solve the issue, we will be happy. We have nothing against such efforts."

He refused to counter former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh's accusation that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, along with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders, were responsible for the demolition of the Babri masjid in Ayodhya.

"He has his own party, his own allies. Moreover, he is our ex-colleague. I don't want to comment on his statement," Naidu said.

Asked to comment on the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's hardened stance on the issue, Naidu said, "The VHP is a nationalist organisation. It is not necessary that we agree with them on every issue. The VHP thinks of Hindus alone, but we think of the entire country. We are a different organisation and aim to keep good relations with everyone."

On the VHP's accusation that the BJP is appeasing Muslims, Naidu said, "We neither appease Hindus nor Muslims. Our policy is appeasement of none and justice for all."

"The VHP is getting restive due to the delay in construction of the Ram temple. But as a ruling party, we have to go by the Constitution. If they are not happy, I cannot do anything except tell them that we are trying to solve the issue."

"We have a coalition government and we have to see the interests of our allies too."

Giving an example, he said, "The BJP is in favour of a separate state of Vidarbha (in Maharashtra), but the Shiv Sena is opposed to it. Coalitions impose certain limitations."

During the press conference, Naidu also took a swipe at mediapersons saying, "Journalists always complain that we only talked of Ayodhya and no other issue. But today when we are talking of development, you are saying we are not talking about Ayodhya."

He said that his party aims to expand its base all over the country by highlighting the 'good performance' of the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre.

The party hopes to add to its kitty the 112 parliamentary seats where it stood second in the 1999 general election.

Naidu announced that the next general election, due in the second half of 2004, would be held on schedule. The BJP has no intention of calling for early elections, he said.

Among the issues that the party would highlight are conversions and cow slaughter.

"A law should be passed by all states banning cow slaughter and forceful conversions. Every state must have its own law," Naidu said.

"This is neither a hard line nor a soft line; only a nationalist line. Be it cow slaughter or conversions, we have the same thought today as we had during the Jan Sangh days. Our stance is appeasement of none and justice for all," he said.

Naidu evaded questions on the recent leadership controversy.

The Ayodhya Issue: The Complete Coverage


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