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Allies threaten U.P. government
By Masood Hasan, Lucknow
|The coalition partners of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh have threatened the ruling party with dire consequences if it does not stop its leaders from making unwarranted statements.
The threat has come in the wake of the statement of the state unit chief of the BJP, Mr. Kalraj Mishra, that the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute is very much on the agenda of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
He also justified the claim of the Hindus for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) has asked the allies of the NDA to clarify their stand on the Ayodhya issue in the wake of the statement of Mr. Mishra. The party described it as a well thought-out policy of the BJP-led government in the state to vitiate the atmosphere for political mileage.
The UPCC spokesman, Mr. Akhilesh Pratap Singh, described the statement as a deep-rooted conspiracy and demanded a clarification from the allies of the central government on the issue. Mr. Singh pointed out that the BJP leaders used to issue these types of statements and later deny them having made. The BJP is attempting to unite the Hindus for political gains, he added.
The principal general secretary of the Loktantrik Congress (LCP), a major coalition partner, Mr. Siraj Mehndi, MLC, remarked that his party was a part of the NDA and felt that such statements by the senior leader like Mr. Mishra on the Ayodhya dispute might create communal tension in the country which may be suicidal for the coalition as well as for the central and state governments.
In this context, Mr. Mehndi pointed out that the utterances made by the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, last month on the Ayodhya issue had led to nation-wide protest and in fact he had to withdraw them. The allies of the BJP at the centre had then strongly condemned the statement of Mr. Vajpayee.
Mr. Mehndi described Mr. Mishra's statement as unfortunate and unwarranted. He reiterated his party's stand on the vexed issue that it favoured a settlement through negotiations or court decision.
The President of the Rashtriya Bahujan Samaj Party, a coalition partner, Mr. Shahidullah Khan, who is also the chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy, pointed out that the Ayodhya issue would not be in the agenda of the NDA until and unless it was mentioned by the Prime Minister. Mr. Khan admitted that Mr. Mishra's statement had obviously hurt the feelings of the minority community. He said: ‘we are in touch with our national president, Mr. D.P. Yadav and will come out with a clear stand later.’
The chairman of the All India Muslim Samaj, Dr. M.A. Haleem, a veteran socialist leader, blamed the allies for extending their full cooperation in running the BJP-led government. He alleged that through such statements, the BJP wanted to create communal disharmony in the country.
Dr. Haleem made a fervent appeal to the coalition partners in the NDA to prove their secular credentials. He said that if the allies failed to mount pressure on the BJP, the minority community would feel that the statement of Mr. Mishra was issued with their consent.