New Delhi: With the Liberhan Commission report on Babri Masjid demolition stirring the political scene, Congress on Tuesday kept Atal Bihari Vajpayee on its radar saying it was a "guilt by association" while his party BJP demanded the resignation of Home Minister P Chidambaram over its leakage to the media.
The BJP rallied behind Vajpayee and said the report violated the principles of natural justice by naming the former prime minister among the indicted persons without summoning him for a hearing.
The BJP`s founthead RSS stood behind the saffron party whose top leadership has been indicted by the Commission claiming whatever happened on the day of demolition on December 6, 1992 was a result of "pent up frustration" and anger of lakhs and crores of people.
The CPI-M said the Liberhan Commission "only confirms the preplanned conspiracy" to demolish the Babri Masjid by saffron
outfits but felt that the late premier P V Narasimha Rao was equally responsible for the incident by not being able to prevent it.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi commenting on the finding that the top leadership (of BJP) could not but have known it(demolition) said of Vajpayee, "That is guilt by association." Asked whether Congress was responsible for the demolition, Singhvi said "I am touching my heart that Congress is not responsible".
Upping the ante, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said, "The report is leaked from not the Home Ministry but from the Home Minister. We demand that the Home Minister take full responsibility and give his resignation." The BJP also demanded a CBI probe.
Kalyan Singh, who was the Chief Minister of BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh in 1992 at the time of the demolition, showed no remorse and did not regret the incident.
Kalyan Singh however condemned the inclusion of Vajpayee`s name in the Liberhan report saying it was politically motivated.
BJP president Rajnath Singh demanded that responsibility be fixed over the leakage of the Liberhan report to the media. His party colleague Murli Manohar Joshi demanded setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee(JPC) for a probe.
Singhvi while seeking to blame Vajpayee for the demolition asked, "If he (Vajpayee) is aggreived that he has been named wrongly, he has a right to go to a court of law to get it rectified. He can challenge it. He cannot say it (demolition) was not known to him... Is it not a clear case of guilt by association."
He sought to absolve Narasimha Rao of any culpability in the demolition when asked whether he too was responsible.
"You do not have a sense of proportion and balance. You are falling in the trap of the principal accused (BJP). Here, there is a long list of principal accused who were standing there...Law and order is a state subject. The central government has no locus and power to deal with law and order on the spot," he said.
RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said, "nobody can be blamed or held as guilty...whatever happened on that day in Ayodhya was a result of the pent up frustration and anger of lakhs and crores of people."
Observing that Vajpayee was not a culprit, CPI leader A B Bardhan said Narasimha Rao also could not be exonerated on the issue. "By 12-o-clock, Rao knew everything on the demolition of the Babri Masjid and he was sleeping. He cannot be exonerated."
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said the main issue of giving exemplary punishment to those found guilty of "most serious assault on our secular democratic polity should not be deflected" by the demand for a probe into the leakage of the report.
Rao can`t be exonerated, Vajpayee not culprit: Bardhan
Observing that BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not a culprit in the demolition of the Babri mosque, CPI leader A B Bardhan on Tuesday said former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao also could not be exonerated on the issue.
"By 12-o-clock, Rao knew everything on the demolition of the Babri Masjid and he was sleeping. He cannot be exonerated," Bardhan said.
He claimed it was a `major lacuna` on the part of the Liberhan Commission not to indict the Narasimha government and should be `corrected`.
Speaking about Vajpayee, he told reporters "I do not think Vajpayee was a culprit. This is my personal view. I have not seen what is written in the report. But I hope Vajpayee was not a culprit."
Noting that while senior BJP leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti were seen celebrating after the demolition, Bardhan said Vajpayee was not among them.
He said some BJP leaders were even shown on television chanting "Ek dhakka aur do, Babri masjid gira do."
BJP, Cong equally responsible for Babri demolition: TDP
Holding the BJP and the Congress “equally responsible” for the demolition of Babri structure in the disputed area at Ayodhya, Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu has demanded that necessary action be taken against the guilty as per the recommendations of Justice MS Liberhan Commission.
Talking to reporters here today, Chandrababu said while the BJP was responsible for the demolition of the Babri structure, the Congress was equally responsible for failing to stop the demolition despite being in the government at the Centre in 1992.
“The then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao could not take any action even as the Karsevaks went about their demolition act,” Chandrababu pointed out.
He said the demolition of Babri structure had become a “sentimental” issue. “Had it not been demolished, communal harmony would have prevailed in the country. All the subsequent incidents (of terror) were a fallout of Babri demolition,” the TDP chief observed.
He held the Government of India responsible for the “leak” of Liberhan Commission’s report even before it was tabled in Parliament. Replying to a question on whether the Babri structure should be re-constructed, Chandrababu said everything should be done in accordance with the Supreme Court verdict on the dispute.