KN Govindacharya, a Sangh Parivar ideologue and one of the leading protagonists of the Ram temple movement, has not only reiterated his decades old view on the construction of Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, but also pitched for a mosque to be rebuilt somewhere near the Ram temple.
Govindacharya, in an exclusive chat with Zeenews.com’s Swati Chaturvedi on her programme Kahiye Janab, speaks his heart on hot issues such as the recent Ayodhya verdict, votebank politics and the state of the BJP.
Swati: The Ayodhya verdict has been delivered. There was a time when the BJP and the RSS spoke about pseudo secularism. Do you agree that the Opposition at present is helpless?
Govindacharya: I completely agree with you. If the priority becomes to win the coveted chair it results in infighting and this is what is going on. The people who used to say that the decision should be based on belief are themselves hailing the court’s verdict, and the people who used to say that they would abide by the court’s verdict are now ready to move the Supreme Court.
Swati: Has the BJP ditched people on the Ayodhya issue?
Govindacharya: My thinking is the same as it was earlier. I still believe that the Ramjanmabhoomi issue is very sensitive and it should not be included in politics. BJP was in power at the Centre but did nothing; not even small issues were looked into. Thus, people were disappointed with such an approach.
Swati: You had once criticised Atal Behari Vajpayee and were expelled from the party. But at the same time Ram Jethmalani, who once questioned Vajpayeji’s mental status, has been inducted into the party. But other party veterans like Uma Bharti are still not being inducted. What’s your view on this?
Govindacharya: I did not say anything against Atalji… that was not the reason for my expulsion. The person who does not have any connection with the views or belief of the party has been inducted into the Rajya Sabha as a BJP member. All this has been done for political gains. The supporters at the ground level have been neglected as they feel the party leaders are using them for political gains.
In any party, a president should be taking decisions but the irony is that there are 4 to 5 persons who have been giving orders and implementing them on their own.
Swati: The RSS welcomed the Ayodhya verdict and said Ram Mandir should be built. At the same time Congress remained silent. What’s your view on Congress’ strategy?
Govindacharya: I was neither shocked nor excited because whosoever is not satisfied will go to the Supreme Court. I still believe that the issues which are bound with belief cannot be resolved by a court’s decision. In order to bring about a solution talks should be held with purity and honesty. Such cases do not address the core issue and the dispute of Ramjanmabhoomi is not a civil suit, but a civilisation issue.
After the verdict everyone is busy with their own tactics and nobody is discussing the core issue. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is now saying they will build a Ram temple on the entire land, but they kept quiet at the initial stage when the land was divided into three equal parts. So it seems there is a shift in stand. Some leaders have started thinking they can fool the common people and are underestimating the power of the public.
Swati: Do you think it is possible to build Mandir and Masjid at the same location side by side?
Govindacharya: To make this possible a wide change is needed not only in India, but also across the world. I personally believe the Ram temple should be built and a Masjid can also come up at a distance of 8-10 Kms. Both Hindus and Muslims can unite and build the two places of worship.
I am personally not satisfied with the verdict. It was more like a panchayat decision.
Swati: Congress has said it was illegal to bring down the monument (Babri Masjid). What message is the party sending to its voters with such a statement?
Govindacharya: This is unfortunate. They are hurting the unity of the country. All the political parties are playing votebank politics and Congress being the most experienced in everything, is playing it smartly. An environment full of terror was created ahead of the verdict and all the parties, whether the Uttar Pradesh government or P Chidambaram, everybody played a part in it. But one should give credit to the intelligence of the public that they kept quiet on their own and not because of political parties’ appeals. The common people have understood they have to chart their own path.
Swati: So do you think politics is no more possible in the name of the Ram Mandir?
Govindacharya: The court’s verdict has been welcomed and everybody agrees that it is the birth place of Lord Ram. So there is no place for politics now.
Swati: What message would you like to give to the BJP president or the other party leaders?
Govindacharya: I don’t want to give any message. Ram Rajya is accepted by both Hindus and Muslims alike. Ram Rajya means no one should sleep hungry; everybody should have a roof over his head and women should be respected. We thought in 1991 that we will usher in Ram Rajya with the help of Ram Mandir, but because of tactics and power politics this belief got buried. The Congress and the BJP should unite and work for a united India.
Swati: Has India really moved on?
Govindacharya: The youth is focusing more on development and are not restricting their beliefs to just culture. Today’s youth is disconnected with Ram Rajya.
Swati: Will political parties allow this issue to get settled down?
Govindacharya: I think if the government takes a firm stand on the issue and constructs a Mandir and a Masjid everything will be fine. The government should act as a felicitator. The NDA government also went weak on this issue. They were living in fear of getting toppled. Still, I believe they should have taken a firm stand as this would have reunited them with the public.
Swati: According to you, who in the BJP can take such a step?
Govindacharya: (Keeps mum)… The supporters who know the ground situation still have belief in the party’s ideology, but at the same time they are not able to get connected with the vision of the politicians. This is the biggest tragedy.
Swati: BJP runs a coalition government in Bihar and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has not been allowed to campaign in Bihar Assembly polls?
Govindacharya: BJP’s double standards are responsible for such a situation. Nitish Kumar did not finalise the list of candidates. When the BJP itself has surrendered, then why should he object? This double standard is alienating the party from its cadres and they are searching for a new path.
How can I call the BJP the biggest Opposition party when both the UPA and the Opposition are focusing on pro rich policies rather than pro poor policies?
Swati: Has Rahul Gandhi himself become an ‘Opposition’ to the Congress?
Govindacharya: I agree that the Congress has sensed the vacant political space and is trying to occupy it. But I have only seen Rahul Gandhi taking positions but no proper ground work is being done. I am not sure that taking positions alone will help anybody.
Adaptation: Biplob Ghosal