Delhi: The BJP is not unduly
worried about the Liberhan Commission report as it feels the
political implications will not be essentially negative for the
Some leaders believe that a damning
report could even spark fresh unity and rejuvenation in a party that
is fighting disarray and demoralisation after two successive defeats
in general elections.
Ayodhya may not have paid electoral
dividends in recent years but if senior leaders are sought to be
prosecuted for advocating a “temple”, there may be a sentimental
backlash, the party feels.
The BJP leadership is not sure of the
shape of things to come as much will depend on the central
government’s attitude and hence they want to move cautiously. The
dominant view in the party is that vindictiveness on the part of the
government will prove counter-productive and again bring the Ayodhya
issue to the centre stage.
But the BJP is not very optimistic
about the rebirth of Ayodhya as a political tool. They hope the
Congress will embark on a misadventure to consolidate the Muslim
vote which showed signs of a shift towards the party in the last
general election and harass the BJP leaders but there is also a
dormant fear that the government may not like to precipitate matters
after 17 years.
In fact, some BJP leaders apprehend
the government will do little else than symbolic posturing.
The BJP’s official reaction betrayed
no sense of nervousness as spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad chose to
iterate that the Hindus world over wanted a grand Ram temple at the
disputed site and there must be a constructive solution.
The party also demanded early tabling
of the report in Parliament so that “the nation knew about the
The media was briefed on the issue
after senior leaders held a meeting at L.K. Advani’s residence in
the morning. Prasad said he would not like to react without knowing
the contents of the report but revealed the party’s aggressive
intent by confronting the Congress on the charge of BJP’s
Responding to Digvijay Singh’s
dismissal as doublespeak the BJP leaders’ assertion that they did
not want the structure demolished, Prasad said the Congress had
already started hatching conspiracies.
Apart from the political implications,
the BJP is not really thinking about the possible legal fallout for
its senior leaders — Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi — as the
commission’s findings have no statutory value.
The third big leader involved, Uma
Bharti, who is in the wilderness after being pushed out of the BJP,
has already lapped up the opportunity to inject fresh life into her
moribund political career.
Uma promptly said she would rather be
hanged than feeling ashamed of what she did during the Ayodhya
The BJP has already taken a cautious
position, asserting that it did not want the mosque to be pulled
down in that manner but a temple must come up at the birthplace of
The BJP leaders are not supporting the
demolition because trials are going on in courts and any wrong move
can send them to jail. Evidence given to the commission cannot be
used in court but statements supporting demolition can influence the
On the other hand, if the commission
exonerates the BJP leadership, the party will have some brownie
points to score but that will not help it re-ignite the Ayodhya
One BJP leader said: “We have to see
if this (the Liberhan report) is a one-day wonder or if it will
build up gradually. We are ready to face it either way."