The decision to open the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya was not made by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi but based on a Court order, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh said here today, disagreeing with President Pranab Mukherjee’s “error of judgement” statement in his memoir.
“Opening of the gate was not done by Rajiv Gandhi. It was a decision of the court. Laying the foundation stone (shilanyas at a temple site) may be an error of judgement (by Rajiv Gandhi). Decision to open the gate was not that of Mr Rajiv Gandhi’s,” he told PTI here in an interview.
Mukherjee has said in his memoir that the opening of the site was an “error of judgement” by Rajiv Gandhi and the demolition of Babri Masjid an act of “absolute perfidy” that destroyed India’s image.
Singh, a former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, however, agreed that the demolition was the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao’s “biggest failure”.
“I totally agree with it”, he said.
“The opening of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple site on February 1, 1986 was perhaps another error of judgement. People felt these actions could have been avoided,” the President said in the book titled “The Turbulent Years: 1980-96”, released by Vice President Hamir Ansari yesterday.
“The demolition of Babri Masjid was an act of absolute perfidy…It was the senseless, wanton destruction of a religious structure, purely to serve political ends. It deeply wounded the sentiments of the Muslim community in India and abroad. It destroyed India’s image as a tolerant, pluralistic nation,” the President says.
Asked as to when Rahul Gandhi would become Congress President, Singh said, “this is a million dollar question that’s being asked for quite some time. Hopefully it should happen this year”.
On whether he personally want to see Rahul at the helm early, he said: “Whatever this…I would say this kind of situation of indecisiveness should not be there”.
As for whether the Congress would aggressively take up the issues of Arunachal Pradesh and the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula here in the coming budget session of Parliament, Singh said, “yes” and added that the party’s core group would decide on the strategy to be adopted in Parliament.
“The way they (NDA government) have gone about in
Arunachal Pradesh…It’s clearly biased way of functioning,” Singh said.
“The Governor mentioning that one cow slaughter is an issue is absolutely ridiculous. We have challenged it in the Supreme Court (challenging the promulgation of President’s Rule). We will fight it out”.
On Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide, Singh said it “reflects the bias of BJP because BJP and RSS are basically upper caste domination group which believes in the theory of ‘Manu’. I think this reflected their attitude in this case.”
Singh, who was here to campaign for Congress candidates in the February two elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), noted that the party did not win a single Assembly or Lok Sabha seat in Hyderabad in the last general elections in 2014.
“So, we are working on it. We have put up as many candidates as possible. And also in the earlier GHMC election, Congress and MIM were together. This time, we are confronting them (MIM) in the Old City. These are the things. So, I am quite hopeful,” he said on the party’s prospects.