19 September, 2020

Soliloquy vs Chorus

The allies are seething and, though the VHP's strategic retreat makes Vajpayee safe for now, all's not quiet yet on the Ayodhya front

T. Narayan
Soliloquy vs Chorus
Coalition dharma has been Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's credo ever since he came to power with the help of a 23-party alliance. The Common Minimum Programme (CMP) was the sacred mantra that held together politically-diverse members of the NDA alliance. And at the core of the NDA agenda was the most sacrosanct agreement—the status quo at Ayodhya would be maintained at all costs and the resolution of the mandir-masjid issue would be left to the courts.

Last fortnight the Vajpayee government for the first time since it came to power took the risk of crossing the Rubicon. First it evolved an Ayodhya formula with the help of the Kanchi Shankaracharya which pushed for handing over of 43 acres of land to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas (RJN) and allowing a symbolic puja. Later, in a move expected to have political repercussions, the government—without as much as consulting key allies—decided to appeal to the Supreme Court to allow the VHP to perform token worship at Ayodhya on March 15.

For the Opposition, it was another confirmation of their growing suspicion that the...


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