New Delhi: L.K. Advani, the most prominent face of the 1990s Ram Janambhoo-mi movement, whose Rath Yatra to support the VHP’s mandir movement is given credit for bringing the BJP much political gains, felt “vindicated” over the Supreme Court verdict.
In a statement, Mr Adv-ani “wholeheartedly” welcomed the “historic judgement” and said he “stand vindicated and feel deeply blessed” that the apex court gave its unanimous verdict paving the way for the construction of a “magnificent temple for Lord Ram in Ayodhya.”
Sidelined within the BJP, both Advani and his colleague Murli Manohar Joshi are members of the party’s ‘margdarshak mandal,’ which was formed in 2014 but has not officially held a single meeting since then.
Pictures of Mr Advani, flanked by Mr Joshi and some other BJP leaders during the Ratra Yatra were circulated in social media. Also, remembered on the day was late VHP stalwart Ashok Singhal, the crusader of the Ram janmabhoomi movement. Mr Advani and Mr Joshi are still facing trial in the 1992 Babri mosque demolition case.
Mr Advani noted that “Ram and Ramayana occupy an esteemed place in India’s cultural and civilisational heritage” and the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya holds a “special and sacred place in the hearts” Indians, even those living abroad.
“Therefore, it is gratifying that their belief and sentiments have been respected....I also welcome the apex court’s decision that five acres of land be given at a prominent place for the building of a mosque in Ayodhya.....the time has come to leave all contention and acrimony behind and embrace communal concord and peace,” said the BJP veteran.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who said November 9 will be written in “golden letters in the history of India,” said “He (Advani) had taken out ‘Rath-Yatra’ for this. I will surely meet him and seek his blessings.”
Earlier, Mr Joshi said the apex court’s verdict should be accepted with an “open mind” by all communities.
Former firebrand and BJP leader Uma Bharti said Mr Advani’s “devotion to temple cause is at the root of the BJP’s success and it will be coming back to power for another term.” She is also facing charges in the Babri masjid demolition case.
Ms Bharti, who met Mr Advani after the verdict, said it was he who brought the BJP and Ayodhya movement to “this position” and hailed the verdict....