SC revives criminal conspiracy charges against Advani, Joshi, Bharti in Babri Masjid case: Arun Jaitley, other netas react

The Supreme Court of India restored criminal conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Uma Bharti and Murli Manohar Joshi regarding the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992. However, the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh has been granted Constitutional immunity, since he is now governor of Rajasthan. Kalyan Singh can only face trial after he ceases to hold the gubernatorial post.

Political leaders from across the spectrum spoke out about the decision, their opinions ranging from support to cautious pragmatism. Here's a selection of the immediate reactions:

Reacting to the Supreme Court's decision to try Union minister Uma Bharti, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the case has been going on since 1993 and the apex court's decision won't change the status quo.

Jaitley’s statement more or less dismissed any discussion about Bharti’s resignation. Jaitley sarcastically also added that if a chargesheet is all that is needed for a resignation, then careers of many Congress leaders, including several chief ministers, would have been extinct.

Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha asked for Uma Bharti to step down from the Narendra Modi-led central government on "moral" grounds.

Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut, however, said the government should immediately withdraw the chargesheet, since it doesn't go with the idea of building a Ram temple at the disputed site.

BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, however, said the question of resignation doesn't arise so early, calling the charges "baseless". He also said he is "ready to go to as long as the temple gets built soon.

BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said the party will "study" the court order before making further comments.

BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya echoed these thoughts, saying the party will not act against its leaders, but instead adopt a wait and watch approach. "We will discuss the issue, but I don't think we need to take action against our leaders," Vijayvargiya said, speaking about the charges against Uma Bharti and LK Advani.

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, welcoming the court's decision, said Advani's Presidential aspirations are as good as done. "Advani is now out of race for the President's post. He was projected as a strong candidate for the top constitutional post, but it is not possible anymore. After Advani was denied (the chance) to become Prime Minister of India, he has also lost the chance to become the President now," he said.

However, he also attacked BJP, saying Advani was made a "scapegoat", saying the CBI was "used it to sideline and oust Advani from the race for the President". Calling Advani's ouster as part of a "well-planned political strategy", he said, "After all, Advani and his supporters in the BJP were sure that he will be made President, but he has lost the chance."

But BJP leader Shaina NC said the question of Ram Temple will be answered through a consensus, but reminded that the issue goes beyond politics and so must the people involved in the trial.

Senior Congress leader and party's MLA from Uttar Pradesh Pramod Tiwari praised the decision, saying it has defeated the BJP's best efforts to protect their leaders. "I respect the Supreme Court for this decision. The BJP tried its best to save the leaders but all failed," he said.

Updated Date: Apr 19, 2017 15:49 PM

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