The decision to open the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya was not made by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi but based on a Court order, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said here today, disagreeing with President Pranab Mukherjee’s “error of judgement” statement in his memoir.
“Opening of the gate was not done by Rajiv Gandhi. It was a decision of the court. Laying the foundation stone (shilanyas at a temple site) may be an error of judgement (by Rajiv Gandhi). Decision to open the gate was not that of Mr Rajiv Gandhi’s,” he said.
Mukherjee has said in his memoir that the opening of the site was an “error of judgement” by Rajiv Gandhi and the demolition of Babri Masjid an act of “absolute perfidy” that destroyed India’s image.
Singh, a former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, however, agreed that the demolition was the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao’s “biggest failure”.
“I totally agree with it”, he said.
“The opening of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple site on February 1, 1986 was perhaps another error of judgement. People felt these actions could have been avoided,” the President said in the book titled “The Turbulent Years: 1980-96”, released by Vice President Hamir Ansari yesterday.
“The demolition of Babri Masjid was an act of absolute perfidy...It was the senseless, wanton destruction of a religious structure, purely to serve political ends. It deeply wounded the sentiments of the Muslim community in India and abroad. It destroyed India’s image as a tolerant, pluralistic nation,” the President says.
Asked as to when Rahul Gandhi would become Congress President, Singh said, “this is a million dollar question that’s being asked for quite some time. Hopefully it should happen this year”.
On whether he personally want to see Rahul at the helm early, he said: “Whatever this...I would say this kind of situation of indecisiveness should not be there”.
As for whether the Congress would aggressively take up the issues of Arunachal Pradesh and the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula here in the coming budget session of Parliament, Singh said, “yes” and added that the party’s core group would decide on the strategy to be adopted in Parliament.