Wrong on Yogi's part to visit Ram temple
It was wrong on the part of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to visit the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site and offer prayers there when the dispute is yet to be settled. For many years, no UP chief minister had visited the site lest they be seen as taking sides in the dispute. Whatever the BJP’s position on it, the state government should not be seen as partisan. Yogi visited the site in the company of persons who are unrepentant about the demolition of the mosque and have declared that a Ram temple would be built there. He also said he favoured the construction of the temple. That amounts to endorsement of the destruction of the mosque which was a criminal offence. His views on the matter are known but propriety demanded that he maintained impartiality on it as the chief minister of the state. It may be a sign of the BJP’s plan to revive the Ayodhya issue and to keep it alive till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The chief minister had also met three senior party leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Union Minister Uma Bharti the previous day in Lucknow before they appeared before a special court which framed charges against them. The charges for criminal conspiracy that led to the destruction of the mosque in 1992 were framed by the court on the direction of the Supreme Court. Yogi’s meeting with them sent a message of solidarity with these leaders who are arraigned before the law. The case had suffered setbacks and delays but with day-to-day trials having been ordered by the Supreme Court, it may soon find closure. After having revived the case, the Supreme Court should ensure that it is conducted efficiently, if necessary by monitoring it.
It is wrong for Uma Bharti to continue as a minister when she is facing criminal charges and is being tried in a court. The argument that the case is politically motivated is not acceptable because it is the Supreme Court that ordered the framing of the charges. She should resign, and if she does not quit on her own she should be dismissed from the Cabinet. Advani had set a good precedent in 1996 when he resigned as an MP when he faced charges in the Jain hawala case. Going by the precedent, Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and VHP leader Vinay Katiyar, who too is facing charges, have no moral right to continue as MPs now. There is also impropriety in former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh continuing as Rajasthan governor when he is shielded from the charges only by his position.