Monday, January 11, 2010


11 Jan 2010


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Late Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao was all for construction of a Ram Mandir at the Babri Masjid demolition site in Ayodhya but his attempt derailed because of losing the election, claims a senior aide involved in the process.

PVRK Prasad, a retired IAS officer who was a joint secretary in the Prime Minister's office (PMO) during Rao's period, has spilled the beans in a book, revealing how he was assigned the task of getting a trust registered to build the temple.

In the book "Asalu Emi Jarigindantey" (What actually happened) in Telugu whose English version is expected shortly, Prasad claims the late Prime Minister wanted the temple built at the demolition site to deny any credit to the Sangh Parivar. He narrates the efforts made by Rao for two years after the mosque demolition on December 6, 1992 to build the temple through a non-political trust.

The author says Rao, however, took care to keep himself and the Congress government out of picture. He explains the role he played to get the Ramalayam Trust formed and says the effort proved futile as the general elections took place and Rao lost the election.

Prasad quotes some of the remarks to him by Narasimha Rao after the mosque demolition, though the book is silent on the crucial question of the latter having prior knowledge of the demolition.

"How can the BJP claim a patent on Ram? We can compete with the BJP but how can we compete with Ram?...Congress is secular, but we aren't atheists. We also worship Ram....We have to build the Ram temple at Ayodhya. They are campaigning that our government is creating hurdles. We have to rebut them," Narasimha Rao was quoted stating.

While assigning him the task of getting the Hindu religious leaders form a trust for the purpose, Prasad writes that Rao was quite clear that "under no circumstances should our strategy, my name and your name be revealed."

His directive was: "Let us register a trust with apolitical representatives and entrust them the task of constructing the temple. This way, we can ensure that no political party can exploit the issue."

Prasad claims Rao had even suggested names of the religious leaders who were to be included in the trust. He even suggested to include some such leaders who are part of the VHP-headed committee. That was how Udupi Pejavar Math chief Vishwarashwa Teertha Swami, who was closely associated with the VHP, was also roped in.

Rao "unofficially" summoned Kishore Kunal, an IPS officer of Bihar, to assist Prasad in talking to religious leaders in Ayodhya, Kashi and Prayag. He also asked Prasad to take help of the self-proclaimed godman Chandraswami.

"Finally, we managed to get the signatures of hundreds of religious leaders and registered it(trust). Unfortunately, it was the end of 1995 and Rao became busy with the polls," Prasad adds.


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