Khan said he was also opposed to Mulayam Singh Yadav playing the role of a mediator in the Ram temple issue. (File Photo/PTI)
A two-hour closed-door meeting between the ruling SP and a VHP delegation on August 17, and the ban on Monday on a proposed VHP yatra for mobilising support for a new Ram temple have triggered speculation that it was a “fixed match” aimed at consolidating support for both.
The VHP was to start its ‘chaurashi kosi parikrama’ from Makoda village in Basti district from August 25 and address 20 public meetings in its 460-km yatra which will be culminated in a rally at Ayodhya on September 13.
Principal Secretary (Home) R M Srivastava told mediapersons that in view of the Supreme Court order to maintain the status quo at the disputed site, the VHP couldn’t be allowed to resume any temple-related activity there.
He said even the Hindu calendar states that the ‘parikrama’ is organised in April-May and not in August-September. “So, a new tradition cannot be allowed,” he added.
What has, however, given rise to speculation about a “secret deal” is the fact that the ban came almost two months after the VHP announced the yatra.
Asked about the VHP yatra, BSP chief Mayawati said something was “being cooked between the SP and BJP”.
Sources said the ban would help both the SP and VHP, which is struggling hard to regain the massive support it enjoyed in the early 1990s.
They said the VHP would now indulge in chest-beating and try to create a sympathy wave, citing the ban.
Similarly, it is an opportunity for the SP to flaunt its “secular” credentials in order to retain its support base among Muslims.
Moreover, the Akhilesh Yadav-led Uttar Pradesh Government, which is struggling to maintain law and order, fears that the yatra might further charge up the already-tense communal atmosphere in the state.
Meanwhile, senior minister Mohammad Azam Khan lambasted SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh for “joining hands” with VHP chief Ashok Singhal and others accused of demolishing the Babri mosque in 1992.
“I fail to understand why Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav spent two hours with those who are responsible for the Babri demolition. A very negative message has gone out to the Muslim community”, he said.
Khan said he was also opposed to Mulayam Singh Yadav playing the role of a mediator in the Ram temple issue.
“The Muslims of the world know that the makeshift temple was constructed after razing the Babri mosque. So, where is the question of mediation?” he said.