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4-min read

RSS Chief Bhagwat Has Put Focus Back on Ram Temple, But no Solution Likely Before 2019 Polls

While Amit Shah and Narendra Modi have not spoken a word about the issue, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath had earlier suggested that Ram Temple is not part of party's agendas for the 2019 elections.

Pranshu Mishra | CNN-News18

Updated:September 20, 2018, 1:17 PM IST
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RSS Chief Bhagwat Has Put Focus Back on Ram Temple, But no Solution Likely Before 2019 Polls
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat speaks during the RSS lecture series event in Delhi. (PTI File Photo)
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New Delhi: With RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat putting the spotlight back on the issue of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, those associated with the ongoing title suit case in Supreme Court feel that there is no verdict expected in the near future, most likely not even before the 2019 general elections. The question is, will the BJP with governments both at the Centre and State, make any move on the contentious issue? Or will it leave the matter to be decided by the court itself?

The current three-judge Bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra had been hearing the Ayodhya title dispute. Justice Misra is to retire on October 2 this year and those legally associated with the case say there is absolutely no possibility of any verdict coming in the case before that.

In fact, the Bench has not entirely started with the actual hearing in the title case. Zafar Yah Jilani, the convener of Babri Masjid Action committee and lawyer for the Muslim side in the Ram Janam Bhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case, says , “The honourable bench has so far heard and reserved its order only on an earlier ruling of the Apex court in 1994, which said, ‘Mosque is not the essential requirement In Islam. Order on this was reserved on July 20th and is expected to be pronounced before Justice Mishra retires'.”

Jilani adds, “If the bench thinks the 1994 ruling is required to be looked into, the issue will be recommended to be heard by a five-judge bench or above it. This, because the 1994 ruling of 'Mosque not being an essential requirement in Islam' was given by a five-judge bench.

Then what does it technically mean for the pending civil suit seeking the court order? And to whom does the disputed land belong, Hindus or Muslims? Jilani explains, “If a new bench is to be constituted, the matter will be subsequently heard by it. And if it's the other way around, even then a new bench—most likely comprising of the new Chief Justice of India—will hear it post Justice Mishra's retirement. Justice Ranjan Gogoi is set to take over as the new CJI.”

Jilani feels that this 1994 observation doesn't makes any significant impact on the ongoing title suit case. However, since it's related to the Ayodhya dispute, the judgement on the ruling will certainly create a flutter.

Advocate Hari shankar Jain of the Hindu Mahasabha is more vocal in his observation. He says, “I don't see any solution coming from the Supreme Court even in the next two years. Forget about anything before the 2019 General elections.” He further says, “The actual hearing in the title suit has not yet started. First, the court will decide about the 1994 ruling. Only then will there be further progress.”

Now, amid this clarity of no verdict on the sensitive issue in the near future, the question arises about what the Narendra Modi government wishes to do.

With the RSS Chief bringing the focus back on the dispute, questions will be raised on how the BJP wishes to handle the issue ahead of 2019 polls. On Tuesday, Mohan Bhagwat had said, “As the RSS Chief I want that a grand Ram temple should be built at the Ram Janam bhoomi in Ayodhya at the earliest.” He had added, “If it happens through mutual understanding then it will lead to harmony with Muslims. The decision regarding a legislation or not on the issue rests with the government.”

The BJP leaders have been giving a mixed response in the matter. While BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Modi have not spoken a word about the issue during their rallies and visits to Uttar Pradesh, the State’s chief minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier suggested that Temple is not part of party's agendas for the 2019 elections. Yogi had said, “Lord Rama will himself decide the date of the temple construction.”

This statement was widely read as BJP's tactical decision to not make it an issue in the 2019 polls. However, UP's deputy CM Keshav Maurya had taken a different route. Speaking to News18 earlier, Maurya had said, “We are committed about the Ram Temple and Centre will not be shy about bringing in a legislation to pave way for the construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.”

Naturally, all eyes will now be fixed on the Modi government. Will it decide to move forward in the issue? Weather the government intends to bring in an ordinance or a legislation, as has been the demand of hardliner Hindu leaders like Vinay Katiyar from within the party, is not clear. What we can say is that on ground BJP's focus has been more on the development issue, riding on the slogan of ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas'.

Any move regarding Ram Temple will therefore derail the political campaign on the development issue. How the government strikes a balance between the two remains to be seen.

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