Lalu blames Congress too for Babri razing (Roundup)

April 18th, 2009 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Patna/New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad caused a stir alleging that the Congress too was to blame for the 1992 demolition of the Babri mosque. The remark, days before the second round of the Lok Sabha elections, caused outrage in the Congress.
A fuming Congress, whose relations with Lalu Prasad are at an all time low, reacted angrily to the railway minister’s charge, asking him why he raked it up 16 years after the mosque razing in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya town that caused widespread Hindu-Muslim violence.

A combative Lalu Prasad first made the charge at an election rally in Darbhanga town of Bihar Friday and then repeated it while speaking to the media in Patna Saturday.

After blaming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leader L.K. Advani for the mosque razing, Lalu Prasad pointed fingers at the Congress too.

“The BJP and Advani were mainly responsible for the demolition but the Congress cannot escape responsibility for its failure to protect it,” said the member of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet.

A large mob converged in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh and destroyed the 16th century mosque Dec 6, 1992, claiming it was built at the very place where Lord Ram was born.

The Congress ruled India then although the BJP was in power in Uttar Pradesh.

According to Lalu Prasad, the Congress government, then led by P.V. Narasimha Rao, could have prevented the destruction that seriously widened the Hindu-Muslim divide across the country.

Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily shot back: “The Congress is not responsible for the demolition. Advani is responsible for it. We (have) regretted the demolition a number of times.”

Congress leader Kapil Sibal said his party regretted Lalu Prasad’s remarks while party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi wondered why the former Bihar chief minister kept mum about it so long.

The RJD supremo’s remarks are widely seen in Bihar as a bid to woo Muslim voters in the Lok Sabha elections, whose first round took place April 16.

Lalu Prasad has snapped links with the Congress in Bihar for the elections but says he remains a part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Lalu Prasad, however, drew unexpected support from the Left.

The Left parties, which have fallen out with the Congress after supporting the UPA government for over four years, said the comment had some basis.

“As far as Lalu Prasad’s comment is concerned… it is not far from the fact,” Communist Party of India’s Shameem Faizee told IANS. “But why has he realised it only now?”

The BJP in turn accused both the Congress and RJD of appeasing Muslims in view of the elections.

BJP spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh told IANS: “The Congress and RJD and Samajwadi Party… they all have been playing politics on the Ayodhya issue to cater to a particular vote bank.

“Since the Congress and RJD are fighting elections separately and Lalu Prasad is finding the going difficult in Bihar, he made this comment keeping in mind the competitive vote bank politics,” Singh said.

The BJP has been supportive of the demand to build a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya. It has made the pledge in its election manifesto this time too.

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