New Delhi: An early morning tweet from Kapil Sibal best reflects the dilemma within the Opposition as far as the stand on scrapping of instant triple talaq is concerned.
“Absence of consensus in Court makes it more difficult to forge consensus within communities. Glad that Court set aside a 'sinful' practice,” the Congress leader tweeted.
The irony is Sibal was the lawyer of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and was opposing the petition asking for scrapping of instant triple talaq in the Supreme Court.
In fact, Sibal had equated the issue of triple talaq with the belief that Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya, arguing that these were matters of faith which cannot be put to test on grounds of constitutional morality.
But when his party decided to back the SC decision, political loyalties reigned over professional stand.
A scheduled media interaction by Sibal on Tuesday was cancelled at the last moment. Instead, media in-charge Randeep Surjewala was asked to field questions from the press. Congress ostensibly was worried that if Sibal gave the official response to the SC decision, the BJP would use his earlier stand in court to embarrass the party.
The scrapping of instant triple talaq got strong support from most political parties. But it's those voices which were either silent or ambiguous which tell the real story.
Lalu Prasad Yadav was restrained in his response which is alien to the usually boisterous neta who doesn't mince his words. “Muslims have their personal law and they will respond accordingly to this judgment and so will I. Won't like to say much," said the RJD chief.
Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar are yet to respond, so is Mulayam Singh Yadav. And there is a reason for this. On core minority issues, these parties would rather wait and gauge the mood within the community before taking a stand in public.
“BJP is obviously doing all this to endear themselves to the Hindus . Why shouldn't we do it for Muslims,” said a senior Trinamool leader.
But it's a double-edged sword. On one hand, there is a huge core constituency around which most regional parties build their social coalitions. On the other, they cannot be seen to be supporting regressive action like instant triple talaq . Especially for Mamata Banerjee, when polarisation is at its peak in West Bengal and the BJP is slowly and steadily making inroads into the state.
“Her (Mamata’s) silence explains it. She is not saying anything. We know it all,” Union Minister Babul Supriyo told News18.com.
For Lalu and Nitish it's a similar problem. Nitish is in a dilemma. He is now part of the NDA which hailed the judgment but taking on the maulvis doesn’t make any political sense for him as he already has a small base.
Lalu's measured response is an indication of the lack of a clear stand within the Opposition.