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BJP’s phyrric victory
By Syed Ubaidur Rahman

The BJP defeated the censure motion taken up by the opposition parties on 14 December in the Lok Sabha, only to lose it days later on the floor of the Rajya Sabha. The motion was brought in for forcing the government to drop its three ministers charge-sheeted by the CBI in Babri demolition case.

The eighth anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid saw another turn to the issue. Never Parliament had witnessed such a hectic, heated and live discussion on the demolition of the mosque. For six long days since the start of the winter session of the Parliament no work was done in both the houses. Opposition parties were demanding the government to drop its three ministers who are charge-sheeted by the CBI, following the Liberhan Commission's summon to Advani and Joshi to appear before it. Justice Liberhan Commission of inquiry has asked the two ministers to appear before it to testify. The commission which is probing the incidents leading to demolition of the mosque is already in process of examining another charge-sheeted minister Uma Bharati. 

In the meantime the prime minister not only refused to ask his ministers to relinquish their jobs, but went a step ahead and dropped a bombshell by saying that the task of constructing the temple is an unfinished agenda and it is to be completed. He said in an Iftar party hosted by the lone Muslim member of his ministry Shahnawaz Husain on 6 December that ‘the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya is an expression of national sentiment which is yet to be finished’. 

If it was not enough he on the next day, i.e., 7 December, asked the Muslims of the country to hand over the site to Hindus for the construction of Ram temple. He added that what may come Ram mandir will be constructed on the same site where the Babri Masjid once stood.

His comment that he made on the day of demolition of the historical mosque evoked angry response from all the quarters of the society. Not only the Muslim organizations criticized his statement but all the opposition parties came into open to denounce prime minister's statements. Even the diehard Vajpayee supporters were shocked to see the mask being unmasked. 

GM Banatwala MP and president of the All-India Muslim League told The Milli Gazette that it is the true face of the BJP and the prime minister. He said that at last PM was forced to end his dual personality that he was maintaining for such a long time. He says that the true face of the PM has come out in the open now. He is of the firm belief that the three tainted ministers in his cabinet should resign from their respective posts. 

Banatwala is not alone in asking the three ministers to resign from their respective posts. Every leader except those of the BJP has firmly come out and asked the government to drop the three ministers. A number of parties have asked the prime minister to apologize for his unwarranted comments.

The senior Congress MP Jaipal Reddy made scathing attacks on the BJP. He did not spare even the PM and said while leading the opposition's attack on the BJP that, 'It was no slip of tongue…this is the slip of the mask. He was referring to the prime minister's statements on 6 and 7 December. Reddy added that, 'I would like to impeach him…for depriving Indian polity of secular immunity. He added that,' From today Vajpayee has become a lame-duck prime minister.

Senior CPI (M) leader Somnath Chatterji was unsparing in his attack on the BJP and the prime minister. He told this correspondent that by siding with the three tainted ministers he is interfering with the law. 

Even the NDA allies have openly come out criticizing the prime minister and his party of this untimely provocative stand. The NDA allies have openly criticized the BJP for taking such an unwarranted stand at this time. 

Though the BJP defeated the vote on the censure motion in the Lok Sabha but it seems it lost the battle even after emerging the winner. Its NDA allies have openly conveyed to the prime minister that they have saved the government this time and have saved it from embarrassment, but it should not either embarrass the allies by involving in issues that are not included in the NDA agenda. The agenda was set by the defiant railway minister Mamata Banerji, who, while delivering her speech during the discussion on the motion said that prime minister's statement on the Ram Temple issue was absolutely unwarranted, unnecessary and uncalled for. 

Farooq Abdullah, the J&K chief minister whose party National Conference is a constituent of the NDA, asked the PM in an NDA meeting to apologize for making such an unwarranted statement. Other NDA constituents have also conveyed the same sentiments to the BJP leaders and the prime minister.

There is a lot more than what meets the eyes. Though Samata Party has openly sided with the BJP on the issue and its leader George Fernandes even spoke in the house favouring the three ministers, a number of its members have shown dissatisfaction over the way things have been going in the Samata party. A senior Samata Party leader told this correspondent that Fernandes has not done well by favouring the three charge-sheeted ministers in the Babri demolition case. He says that it has tarnished Samata party's secular image in the eyes of the common man and people from now onwards are sure to see it as a sister organization of the BJP.

TDP and Trinamul Congress have taken the lead in criticizing the PM and his party for making such an unnecessary statement. These two parties have come out openly opposing the BJP on the issue. The TDP parliamentary leader Yerren naidu told this correspondent that the issue was uncalled for at this juncture. He added that he has conveyed it in clear words to the BJP that TDP's participation in the NDA is ensured as long as BJP sticks to the NDA agenda. In otherwise case we have every right to consider taking other steps.

Senior Trinamul Congress MP Sudip Bandopadhyay when asked as to what he thinks of the statement made by the prime minister, told this correspondent that it was not right to utter such words at this time. When asked as to why his party is sticking with the BJP even when it is making such utterances that go against the very programs of the NDA, he said that the BJP has ensured that it will follow the NDA agenda. When asked as to what he thinks of the opposition's demand for the resignation of the Babri trio, he said that it is an internal problem of the BJP and it should sort it out. When asked about the demand of the prime minister that Muslims should hand over the Babri land for the construction of the Ram temple, he said that Muslim will never hand over the land for such things. He said that PM has to wait till the court gives its verdict.

DMK leader and MP Kupusami told this correspondent that his party did not favour construction of the temple at the site of the Babri Masjid.

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