New Delhi: The Supreme Court verdict on the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute on Saturday introduced a new dynamics in Indian politics, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the centre and in Uttar Pradesh, fulfilling a nearly three-decade-old election pledge.
While the BJP leadership has maintained that a grand temple should be constructed at the disputed site, the SC on Saturday granted the entire 2.77 acres of the disputed site to the deity Ram Lalla (infant Ram), one of the litigants in the dispute.
Most political parties including the Congress welcomed the judgment, coupling it with a unanimous appeal for people to maintain calm and social harmony.
“People should maintain peace and harmony in the country. It is a landmark judgment and this verdict will lead to better relations between different communities," said defence minister Rajnath Singh.
The BJP’s history with the Ram Janmabhoomi is long and controversial. The campaign for the construction of the temple was led by former deputy prime minister LK Advani who led a nationwide tour of the country to gather support for a Ram temple at the disputed site.
In 1992, the 16th century mosque that stood at the site, Babri Masjid, was razed by a Hindu mob.
The verdict will help the BJP consolidate its position in politics and is likely to benefit the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The judgment completes the over three-decade-long movement by the BJP, which is in power in Uttar Pradesh with a mammoth majority. The BJP also returned to power at the Centre earlier this year in May after the 2019 general elections.
“We should respect the verdict of the Supreme Court. We appeal to maintain peace, harmony, love and brotherhood," said Shivraj Singh Chouhan, former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and national president of BJP.
Members of different political parties also said that the issue should be settled after the verdict and there should be no further dispute on it.
The Congress working committee, which met on Saturday under the leadership of party president Sonia Gandhi, passed a resolution welcoming the judgment.
“The Indian National Congress respects the verdict of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya case. We appeal to all the parties concerned and to all communities to abide by the secular values and spirit of fraternity enshrined in our Constitution and to maintain peace and harmony. It is the responsibility of each one of us to reaffirm our tradition of mutual respect and unity among all that has defined our society through the ages," the Congress resolution said.
Responding to a question, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Supreme Court verdict cannot be a matter of credit or discredit to any individual, group of people, community or political party. The Congress was in favour of construction of a temple.
“Supreme Court's judgement should be welcomed by everyone, it will be beneficial for the social harmony. There should be no further dispute on this issue, this is my appeal to the people," said Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Appealing for peace and harmony in the country, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that judgment of SC had ended the dispute. “After hearing the arguments of all the parties, the five judges of the SC Bench gave their verdict today unanimously. We welcome the decision of the SC. Today SC gave decision on several decades of controversy. The years-old dispute ended today. I appeal to all people to maintain peace and harmony," Kejriwal said.
Pretika Khanna contributed to the story