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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ayodhya title suit: Tremor in Congress as verdict nears---



Ayodhya title suit: Tremor in Congress as verdict nears

28 AUG, 2010, 03.49AM IST, BHARTI JAIN,ET BUREAU 


NEW DELHI: The Congress core committee, which met here on Friday evening to draw up a contingency plan to deal with the fallout of the Ayodhya title suit verdict, took stock of all scenarios that may follow the crucial judgement. 

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court is expected to pronounce its verdict on the Ayodhya title suit in the second week of September. The government foresees a crisis of sorts whichever way the judgement tilts. It will have major political consequences as votebank politics will take centrestage and could possibly lead to law and order disturbances not just in Uttar Pradesh but across the country. 

The court will be addressing three issues. One, whether there was a temple at the disputed site, prior to 1538. Two, whether the suit filed by the Babri committee in 1961 is barred by limitation. And third, whether Muslims perfected their title through adverse possession. 

The court has before it an excavation report by ASI, which points to existence of a massive structure just below the disputed structure. Among the excavation yields, the report has mentioned stone and decorated bricks, mutilated sculpture of divine couple, carved architectural members including foliage patterns, amalaka, kapotapali, doorjamb with semi-circular shrine pilaster, broken octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus motif, circular shrine having pranjala (watershute) in the north and 50 pillar bases in association with a huge structure.

All these point to an architecture associated with north Indian temples. The report concluded that it was over the top of this construction during the early 16th century that Babri Masjid was constructed directly resting over it. But the Sunni Central Waqf Board has been maintaining that the report is “vague and self-contradictory”. 

In the event of the court taking cognisance of the ASI report, the government may have to deal with adverse reaction from the losing side. This can be politically tricky for Congress as it has just begun reclaiming its supportbase among the minority community. The then Congress government at the Centre could not stop kar sevaks to from destroying the Babri Masjid, thanks to a BJP government in UP, alienating its Muslim supporters. 

Congress obviously does not want any misstep to come in the way of its efforts to win over the Muslim community, a group that is critical for sustaining its electoral project. The government leadership will also be looking at influential Muslim leaders to come to its aid in dealing with the fallout of the judgement. 

In the event of the verdict going against the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust, consequences could be equally worrying. It could give Hindu-minded political formations an opportunity to rake up the issue, which has lost its potency in the recent years. 

A shrill Hindu campaign could upset Congress’ plans to create a political ambience where neutral issues gain traction. Congress feels that it can perform exceedingly well when emotional issues are not allowed to play out. Its leadership has been concentrating on livelihood issues in recent months with considerable success.

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