The rank and file of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological fount, is unhappy with efforts by the latter in terms of a legislation that will enable the building of a temple at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi site, senior functionaries of the organisation said on condition of anonymity.
Thus far, a Bharatiya Janata Party MP from the Rajya Sabha Rakesh Sinha has said he will move a private member’s bill on the temple, a few ministers not connected with the issue have commented on the possibility of a law or the need for one, and top government functionaries addressing a background briefing last week emphasised the fact that the government has the power to bring about a law to the effect.
According to the RSS functionaries, at several meetings after the Supreme Court decided to defer the hearing of the Ram Janmabhoomi case to January, the organisation’s cadre pushed their top leadership to take up the matter with the government, saying the decision could not be left to the top court.
“There was unanimity on the need to move the issue from the domain of the judiciary to a parliamentary forum. The cadre relayed to the top brass that the government’s ambiguity on the issue and waiting for the court decision, which seemed endless would prove counterproductive for the Sangh as well as for the BJP’s electoral fortunes,” said one senior functionary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
While the BJP has, in recent weeks especially, sought to bring the temple issue to the forefront – at a meeting in Lucknow recently, the party decided this would be one of its key issues for the coming polls – it has steered clear of any firm commitment about a legislation to build the temple.
The Sangh functionaries say their people see this as the government dragging its feet on the issue.
“The mood on the ground suggests that the Bharatiya Janata Party does not gain anything by not pushing for the construction of the temple.
“Since the 2014, when the Bharatiya Janata Party rode to victory on a massive majority, there has been expectation that the party will fulfill its promises to build the temple. When the cadre is out meeting people, they are questioned its intent to do so,” said another functionary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh .
RSS affiliate the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was the first to raise the demand that the government introduce a bill in Parliament to pave the way for the construction of the temple at the disputed site where the Babri Masjid stood till it was demolished.
Earlier this month, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s general secretary Suresh Bhaiyaji Joshi said Hindus were feeling “insulted” that the title suit wasn’t a priority for the court. Joshi was speaking at a meeting of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh brass in Mumbai.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party leadership was confident of going to polls in 2019 on the plank of continued development, but it will be inimical to their interests if they do not hear the voices on the ground and do not heed the sentiments of the majority,” said the second RSS functionary.
There was also a debate within the Sangh on whether the private members bill alone would relay the intent of the Bharatiya Janata Party to construct the temple, said the first functionary. The unanimous opinion was that it wouldn’t.
First Published: Nov 08, 2018 23:49 IST