Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday castigated senior Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal for seeking deferment of hearing of the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid title dispute till after the 2019 general elections, and wondered if such an issue should be kept unresolved for political gains and losses.
On the campaign trail in Gujarat, Modi recalled how his government decided to oppose ‘triple talaq’ in the Supreme Court risking a possible backlash in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
He also pitched for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.
“Yesterday, Sibal advocated the cause of the Muslim community. He has the right to do it and we do not have any problem with it. You can present your 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 expressed by Sibal, who represents the Sunni Waqf Board in the case in the Supreme Court, were his own.
The prime minister said every six months there were elections in one place in the country or another.
“This attitude of weighing every thing on political scale has made this country suffer the most,” he said, adding that was the reason why he favoured simultaneous Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls. This, he said, would also bring down the money spent on conducting elections.
Sibal, while arguing for the Sunni Waqf Board, told the Supreme Court yesterday that since the court’s decision in the case would have “very serious ramifications”, the hearing be deferred till July 2019 by which time the general election would be over.
His contention was, however, not accepted by the court which decided to hear the matter on February 8 next year.
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.
“Everybody was saying that if we take a stand against it, we will face a backlash in the UP elections, but we took a stand and the Supreme Court asked us to form a law in six months,” he said.
A law banning the controversial practice of instantaneous divorce that would provide for jail sentence to those “ruining the lives of our mothers and sisters” will be passed by Parliament, Modi said, apparently seeking to reach out to Muslim women.
“Can decisions be held to ransom for electoral gains and losses or should they be taken for the benefit of the entire country? he asked.