Rivals in Bihar polls worried ahead of Ayodhya verdict

A day ahead of the Ayodhya verdict, leaders of several main political parties in Bihar are worried as they fear that the judgment might impact their prospects and the outcome of the assembly elections.

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2010, 15:48 PM IST

Patna: A day ahead of the Ayodhya verdict, leaders of several main political parties in Bihar are worried as they fear that the judgment might impact their prospects and the outcome of the assembly elections.

Leaders of Bihar`s ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U), its alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), its alliance partner Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), and the Congress are eagerly awaiting the Ayodhya verdict.

The Supreme Court Tuesday paved the way for the Allahabad High Court to give its verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute, dismissing a petition that sought its postponement. The high court then decided to announce the verdict Thursday at 3.30 p.m.

A senior BJP leader, who is also a minister in the Nitish Kumar-led government, said on the condition of anonymity that the verdict will impact the Bihar polls because of the social and political equation.

"The verdict may work in favour or against us this time," he said.

BJP state president C.P. Thakur admitted that the party`s stand on the Ayodhya issue is different from its alliance partner JD-U, but said there would be no problem after the verdict.

"We have requested party workers and leaders to accept the verdict and not to overreact because there exists the option for appeal in the higher court," Thakur told IANS.

JD-U state president Vijay Kumar Choudhary was reluctant to say much on the verdict`s likely impact on the polls.

"Our poll plank is development. We are not sure if the verdict will have any impact. Let`s wait for it," Choudhary said over phone.

Senior JD-U leaders like Shivanand Tiwari and Monazir Hasan, both MPs, shocked the party leadership when they demanded snapping of ties with the BJP this month for its plan to invite Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to campaign in the Bihar polls.

Modi has not campaigned for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar in any election after the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Nitish Kumar has time and again made it clear that he was concerned over his secular image.

Differences between him and the BJP began June 12 this year when he expressed displeasure over newspaper advertisements that featured him and Modi.

He even cancelled a dinner he was to host for BJP leaders attending the party`s national executive meeting here. Later, some Bihar BJP leaders questioned Nitish Kumar`s decision to return the money given by Gujarat in 2008 for flood relief.

Political watchers here said Nitish Kumar`s move to project himself as a secular leader, who did not want to share the stage with Modi, was to garner support of nearly 17 percent Muslim population in Bihar.

RJD state president Abdul Bari Siddiqui said: "We are fighting against communal forces and would not allow them to create trouble after the verdict."

RJD senior leader and MP Ram Kirpal Yadav said the BJP, fearing loss of face in the Bihar elections, was hell bent to disturb communal harmony in the state after the verdict.

"The BJP has not only invited RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) men from outside Bihar but also deployed them in assembly constituencies to create communal trouble," he alleged.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan are known champions of the Muslim cause and enjoy strong support base in the community.

The Congress, which is contesting all 243 seats in the assembly on its own, is also aware of the verdict`s likely impact on the polls.
"Our`s is a national party. Our stand is clear on the issue. We will accept the verdict and not use it in our campaign. But we fear that other parties might," Congress spokesperson Prem Chand Mishra said.

The demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid Dec 6, 1992, by Hindu radicals had triggered nationwide riots.

IANS