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Posted at: Apr 20, 2017, 12:12 AM; last updated: Apr 20, 2017, 12:12 AM (IST)

BJP on trial

Will ‘caged parrot’ CBI get a free hand?
APART from BJP veterans LK Advani, MM Joshi and others it is the BJP’s credibility that will be on trial for the next two years and the outcome will coincide with the Lok Sabha elections. If convicted, Advani and Co would get a minmimum of five years in jail. That would mean a sad end to political careers built on inflaming communal passions that had resulted in the Babri Masjid demolition and some 2,000 killings in riots that followed. They face the prospect of spending their sunset years in prison. Some of them had dreamt of occupying either the PMO or Rashtrapati Bhavan.  

Riding high post-UP victory, suddenly the BJP leadership has been brought face to face with an ugly reality. All along the party had maintained that there was no conspiracy behind the Babri demolition. That view has been rubbished by the apex court. Now the choice before the leadership is either to shame-facedly allow Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh to continue as Union minister and Rajasthan Governor, respectively, and look the other way just as it had done in the case of Ram Naresh Yadav who had used the gubernatorial immunity to escape trial in the Vyapam case, or take the high moral ground and sacrifice both at the altar of principled politics. When Advani quit the Lok Sabha in 1996 on being charged in a hawala case, he perhaps did not realise he was setting an example other BJP leaders would find it difficult to follow. 

Already living with the political ignominy of being reduced to margdarshak, the BJP’s seniors may be reminded of the truth of Shakespeare’s telling observation: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” The top Hindutva practitioners will line up along with karsevaks for day-to-day trial. Delay apart, the court has done its job. It is now for the BJP government to ensure that the trial proceeds fairly and squarely. More importantly, various stakeholders at home and abroad will watch the Modi regime’s political response — whether Ayodhya emotionalism is whipped up or the apex court verdict is palmed off as a rule-of-law work in progress.

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