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Modi mocks Sibal over Ayodhya plea
Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal’s plea for deferment of the Supreme Court’s hearing in the Ram Janma-bhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute till after the 2019 general elections triggered a major controversy on Wednesday.
First, Sunni Waqf Board dissociated itself from Sibal’s plea, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to congratulate the Muslim body and castigating Sibal. But soon the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) backed Sibal’s stand, forcing the Sunni Wakf board to fall in line. On his part, Sibal said he is not representing the Sunni board in the title dispute and appearing for other petitioners.
In the morning, distancing itself from Sibal’s stand, Sunni Waqf Board member Haji Mehboob said the board was for a solution to the Ayodhya dispute at the earliest.
“Yes Sibal is our lawyer but he is also related to a political party, his statement in SC yesterday was wrong, we want a solution to the issue at the earliest,” Mehboob was quoted by ANI.
Modi was quick to use the Sunni leader’s reaction to target Sibal and Congress. “The Sunni Waqf Board must be congratulated for their brave stand on the matter and disassociating themselves from the statement of Sibal,” the Prime Minister said.
Then came AIMPLB deference of Sibal. “As the representative body, the Board endorses and confirms the said statement of the counsels made in court,” said AIMPLB general Secretary
After this, Sunni Waqf leader and a petitioner in the dispute Haji Mehboob did an immediate flip-lop. “If Jilani (Zafaryab Jilani, convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee) is saying that what Sibal said yesterday was right, then I agree with him.
Don’t want to say anything else,” he said.
Sibal also tried to do the damage control by saying he never represented the Sunni board in the title dispute. “Our PM comments without knowing things sometimes. Amit Shah and he said I represented Sunni Waqf Board. I was never a Sunni Waqf Board lawyer,” he said.
He went on to add that, “Jab Bhagwan chahega, tabhi Ram Mandir banega. Na hi Ram Mandir Modi ji ke kehne se banega. Maamla court mein hai.”
In attacking Sibal, Modi said he had the right to present his argument quoting all facts and laws to save Babri Masjid. “But you dare say that the case should not be heard till 2019 elections. You want to stop the hearing of Ram temple (issue) in the name of elections,” Modi told a well attended election rally here in Ahmedabad district.
Modi said now he understands why the Congress kept many issues unresolved, without elaborating but implying that it was done to derive political mileage.
“Does the Waqf Board fight elections? Are these thoughts of delaying the hearing for elections that of the Waqf Board? The elections in the country are being fought by the Congress party. You want to keep the issue unresolved for political gain and losses in the elections?” Modi asked the Congress.
He, however, noted that the Congress has said the views by Sibal, who represents the Sunni Waqf Board in the case in the Supreme Court, were his own.
Modi said he faced a similar situation during the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls when his Government had to make its stand clear on the contentious issue of ‘triple talaq’ in the apex court.
Meanwhile, launching a stinging attack on BJP, Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala on said Congress has always maintained a clear position on the Ayodhya matter that it has to be heard and decided by the Supreme Court. He further went on to say the BJP has been raking up the issue just to garner votes.
“BJP chief Shah is trying to garner votes in the name of Lord Rama. The BJP is playing the role of ‘Manthara’,” Surjewala said in Ahemdabad.
His attack on the BJP comes after Shah, who had accused Rahul Gandhi of maintaining ‘double standards’ in the Ayodhya matter.
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