Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for lauding the Sunni Waqf Board for distancing itself from his stand on the Ayodhya dispute, lawyer Kapil Sibal said he had a habit of commenting on issues without getting facts right.
The Congress leader said he never represented the Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court and clarified to the Indian Express that he was the lawyer for one Iqbal Ansari, a co-petitioner in the lawsuit over the title to the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.
“The PM did not check the fact that actually I never represented the Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court. And yet he thanked Sunni Waqf Board for a statement on the basis that I represented them. Request PM and Amit Shah to be a little more careful,” ANI quoted Sibal as saying.
On Tuesday, Sibal requested the Supreme Court to set the date for next hearing on the Ayodhya lawsuit after July 2019 since “the case has ramifications on polity of India”. Though Sibal did not mention elections, it was apparent to all present that he wanted the court to hear the matter only after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. On Wednesday, there were reports that the board had said it did not agree with Sibal’s views and were not their lawyer.
Modi was quick to pounce upon the Waqf board’s statement and panned the Congress and Sibal for trying to link the Ram temple issue with elections. “The Sunni Waqf Board has stated that yes, Kapil Sibal may be our lawyer, but what he said in the court is absolutely wrong. Everyone wants a time bound solution except Congress and their leaders. The board must be congratulated for their brave stand on the matter and disassociating themselves from the statement of Kapil Sibal,” Modi said at an election rally in Gujarat. Similar sentiments were also echoed by BJP chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Not mincing any words, a visibly upset Sibal said the PM should address the concerns of India and not divide the country. “Please address the concerns of India. Don’t divide the people of our country like this. You may win perhaps in your mind, but you will lose badly and India will lose if you only care about yourself and not the country,” he said.
The Congress MP also asked if discussions on his remarks in court would solve the problems plaguing the country. “Will discussion on my going to the court and representing someone solve serious problems in the country? If yes, then PM should say so. Issuing statements won’t help India in anyway, it’ll just take the nation towards controversies,” Sibal asserted.
On the Ayodhya dispute, the senior lawyer contended that a Ram temple would be built only when God wished and not on the directions of Modi. “We believe in the Lord, we don’t believe in you Modi ji. You are not going to build that temple, it will be done when God wants it. The court will decide,” Sibal said.