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Govt discusses impact; Joshi calls on Advani; Uma won’t quit

| | New Delhi

Soon after Supreme Court ordered restoring of criminal conspiracy charge against top BJP leaders LK Advani, MM Joshi and Uma Bharti in the Babri masjid demolition case, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with his senior Cabinet colleagues and discussed the situation emerging from the court ruling.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu were among those who attended the meeting, sources said. While Uma Bharti refused to resign from the Cabinet as demanded by the Opposition, Joshi called on Advani at his residence after the court order.

Unfazed by the apex court’s order, Uma said she was ready to sacrifice her life for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. “A grand Ram temple in Ayodhya is my dream. Ready to go to prison or be hanged for India and Ram mandir,” she told reporters.

Asserting she was “proud, unapologetic” and did not repent her role in the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign, Bharti said she was ready to face whatever punishment came her way in her fight for the construction of the Ram temple.

Jaitley also virtually ruled out Bharti’s resignation and described as “hypothetical” the possibility of the SC ruling having any bearing in selection of candidates for presidential and vice-presidential polls.

While the term of President Pranab Mukherjee is coming to an end on July 24, the term of Vice-President Hamid Ansari ends on August 10.

“This case is going on since 1993. Somehow it is going on and no new situation has arisen. So the situation which was prevailing will continue,” Jaitley told reporters.

He was asked whether the ruling would mean resignation of Bharti, the Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation from the Union Cabinet and of Kalyan Singh as Rajasthan Governor.

Jaitley retorted saying if resignation following a charge sheet in a case was the criteria then some of the current Congress Chief Ministers would have to quit.

“There have been Ministers, there have been deputy Prime Ministers... If charge sheet is the rule (to resign), then just calculate, how many Congress Chief Ministers will (have to go),” he said.

Reacting to the SC order, the BJP said it will study in detail the SC’s verdict before offering comments.

 Senior BJP leader and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asserted that his party highly respects leaders like  Advani and Joshi along with Bharti and others to be tried now following the apex court’s decision.  

 
 
 

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