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Keep me off Ayodhya: PM

July 18, 2003 13:26 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party president M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday dared the Congress for a debate on secularism.

"We are committed to secularism, but we are opposed to pseudo-secularism and appeasement for garnering minority votes," he said during the inaugural address at the party's three-day national executive meeting in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

"Hindutva is the soul of India. We are proud of it, but it cannot be an election issue nor can Hindutva be projected as a narrow concept."

The meeting is being attended, among others, by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who made it clear on his arrival at Raipur that he did not want to get involved in the controversy over the Sangh Parivar's demand for the construction of a Ram Temple at Ayodhya.

"Mein in vivadon mein nahi par raha hoon... charcha chal rahi hai (I won't get involved in such controversies... the issue is being discussed at the national executive)."

During the conclave, the party will adopt a resolution on the Ayodhya issue and draw up the strategy for the coming assembly elections.

The resolution, apparently being brought under pressure from Sangh Parivar associates, is expected to reaffirm the BJP's commitment to the temple cause, party sources said.

However, with a view not to offend the sensitivity of its coalition partners, the resolution is likely to express its helplessness to introduce a bill in Parliament for the construction of Ram Temple.

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