ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ayodhya and After

Ayodhya and After FOR sheer brazenness the prime minister's broadcast last Sunday after the so-called kar sevaks had done their job in Ayodhya will be hard to surpass. Invoking the spirit of the freedom struggle under Gandhi's leadership, Narasimha Rao lamented the pulling down of the "Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure" as a "matter of great shame and concern to all Indians" and proclaimed his determination to "go to any extent to preserve and protect secularism and the democratic credentials of our nation". In fact it had been entirely within the power of the central government headed by Rao to prevent the traumatic happenings in Ayodhya and the blood-bath across the country that has predictably ensued in their wake: it had the Constitution on its side, it had the requisite security forces at its command and it had been forewarned sufficiently in advance by the intending evildoers themselves. If still the prime minister deliberately chose not to act, it was not, as he would now like it to be believed, out of consideration for constitutional niceties about not trespassing into the domain of the UP government. (The decision to summarily dismiss the state governments of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh should now put paid to that particular posturing of Narasimha Rao.) The real reason is that from the time he became prime minister last year, Narasimha Rao has pursued a policy of building an entente cordiale with the BJP to ensure his own and his government's survival. Now, the one thing the BJP and, of course, the RSS-VHP-Bajrang Dal combine cannot be charged with is that they have practised the slightest dissimulation in regard to their objective of destroying the Babri Masjid and building the Ram temple at that exact spot. About this there should not have been the least doubt or ambiguity in any quarter. And yet Narasimha Rao, who is now shamelessly pushing his claim to lead a struggle against the enemies of secularism, had no qualms about striking political deals with the BJP and its Hindutva allies, in the process making sure in the critical days leading up to December 6 that the central government would in no way come in the way of whatever plans the UP government and the political forces committed to the destruction of the Babri Masjid had up their sleeve.

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