Cong may have to defend PVN

Cong may have to defend PVN

Cong may have to defend PVN

Soon after the 1996 elections and with the late Sitaram Kesri replacing him as Congress president, the late prime minister became a persona non grata in the Congress. The party refused a ticket to him to fight the LS polls as Kesri publicly stated that the denial was because Rao had failed to protect the masjid.

After his death in December, 2004, the party even refused to allow his body to be kept for public viewing at the AICC headquarters on Akbar Road.
The body was brought to the gate of the office, kept outside the gate for a few minutes and taken back to his house. His family’s request for a site to bury him in the capital was also turned down.

Public apology
The Congress also publicly apologised for the razing of the mosque.  Rao’s Health Minister M L Fotedar, a Gandhi family loyalist, resigned protesting against the failure of his government to protect the shrine.

Indirectly holding the former prime minister responsible for the incident, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said recently that had any of his family members been ruling the country, the masjid would not have been demolished.
However, the Liberhan Commission, which investigated into the incident, has given a clean chit to Rao for his perceived inaction in preventing the demolition of the masjid.
Now, the ruling Congress will be called in to defend Rao and his government. The report will be discussed in Parliament on December 1 and 2.
While Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan refused to dwell into the issue on Wednesday, another spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said the poser was a case of “mixing the tail with the body”. 

He said the Centre has no power to intervene in the affairs of the state.
He added that if the Supreme Court could be misled by the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh about giving protection to the structure, so could be the Centre.
The Congress denied suggestions that it must own the moral responsibility, alleging that the blame was being shifted to an innocent “bystander.’’
Interestingly, the Liberhan report does not mention the opening of the locks by the then PM Rajiv Gandhi.

The structure had remained locked for decades, before opened for Hindu worshippers in 1986.

 The Parliament debate may also see the Opposition members grilling the UPA on former Union minister SS Vaghela, one of the 68 indicted leaders. Vaghela, who was in the BJP in 1992, is now in Congress.