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Wary Congress Asks Sibal to Stay Away from Campaigning in Gujarat After Ram Mandir Row

Sources have told News18 that the party has taken the decision in the wake of recent controversy over Sibal's arguments in the Supreme Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi case.

Pallavi Ghosh | CNN-News18_pallavighosh

Updated:December 7, 2017, 4:39 PM IST
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Wary Congress Asks Sibal to Stay Away from Campaigning in Gujarat After Ram Mandir Row
File photo of senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal (Photo: Getty Images)
New Delhi: Congress leader and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal has been asked not to campaign for the party in Gujarat.

Sources have told News18 that the party has taken the decision in the wake of recent controversy over Sibal's arguments in the Supreme Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi case.

With BJP aggressively trying to use the issue in Gujarat polls, the Congress it seems wants to play to avoid any polarisation on communal lines.

Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit admitted that "sometimes lawyers have to be judicious in taking up cases if they are doubling up as politicians in public life".

Sibal's stand in court had invited sharp reactions from the BJP, especially in poll bound Gujarat. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an election rally had on Wednesday cited Sibal's arguments, accusing the Congress of politicizing the Ram Temple issue.

"Kapil Sibal, a Congress MP, argued in Supreme Court in the Babri Masjid case. He can argue in court but is it right for him to say postpone hearing till 2019? Why is he linking elections with Ram Mandir. Now, the Congress is linking Ram Mandir with politics," PM Modi said while addressing an election rally in Gujarat.

Campaigning for the first phase of polling in Gujarat will end this evening.

Sibal in the last one month was closely involved in talks with Patidar Anmat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leaders in Gujarat for drafting Congress' stand on Patidar reservations.

BJP national president Amit Shah had also attacked the Congress to make its stand clear on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue after Sibal's arguments in court.

Shah said that on one hand, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is on "election tour of temples" in Gujarat, while on the other his party wants the hearing on the title dispute to be deferred.

Sibal, while arguing for the Sunni Waqf Board told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that since the court's decision in the case would have "very serious ramifications", hearing be deferred till July 2019 by which time the general election would be over.

"Please fix the matter in July 2019 and we assure that we will not seek any adjournments... justice should not only be done, it should seem to be done," Sibal told the court.
The apex court decided to hear the matter on February 8 next year.
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