On a day spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar offered to mediate in the Ayodhya Ram temple dispute of his “own will”, the BJP on Monday decided to tread cautiously, saying that it is his “democratic right” and the party or the government has nothing to do with it.
“As far as the BJP is concerned, we have made our policy very clear: we want Ram temple to be built, but by consensus or by court verdict. Therefore, if somebody is trying for a consensus, it is his democratic right,” Union minister Prakash Javadekar told the media at the party headquarters.
The minister said representatives from the BJP or the government have not been “invited” for the meeting Ravi Shankar has called on November 16. Stating that his initiative was out of his “own will”, Ravi Shankar on Monday said said he would pay a courtesy visit to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and will visit Ayodhya on November 16 to meet all stakeholders.
Opposition Congress, which had earlier called Ravi Shankar an agent of the BJP-led government in the Ayodhya dispute, sought to know the government’s stand on it. “We would like to ask the government, is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar a designated representative of the government? Is he the designated interlocutor of the government, or is it a skylarking operation,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari asked.
Earlier, when Ravi Shankar had offered to mediate, former BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti had rejected the offer, saying the Art of Living Foundation chief did not qualify to mediate, as he had never been associated with the Ram temple movement. Long associated with the Ram temple movement, Vedanti said that it had been led by the Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and that these two organisations should get an opportunity to hold a dialogue on the issue.