Interview with Kalyan Singh.
Former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, who presided over the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, when he was with the BJP, and is now Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's comrade-in-arms. Having helped him form the government, Kalyan Singh is now guiding him on how to handle the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). "I told Mulayam Singh not to believe even Atal Bihari Vajpayee or L.K. Advani if they say that the VHP's programme would be peaceful. Their past record is one of betrayal and treachery on the temple issue. I told Mulayam Singh not to compromise with security. I'm happy he handled it with maturity and intelligence," Kalyan Singh told Purnima S. Tripathi, in an interview. He said the temple issue could still be solved through mutual understanding and dialogue and his next endeavour was to begin the process. Excerpts:
* Why did the government have first to foil the programme and then allow it the next day? After all, what could the VHP have done, because a temple could not have been built in one day?
One cannot believe what the VHP says. I should know from experience and I had told Mulayam Singh not to believe even Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani if they say that the VHP's programme would be peaceful because their past record has been one of betrayal and treachery on the temple issue. The VHP would certainly have created trouble, to incite violence, in order to defame the government and then mount pressure on the Centre for its dismissal. That is why I had told Mulayam Singh that no matter what they say, there should be no compromise with security. Once the steam was let out of their programme there was no harm in allowing them.
* Do you not think it is time to work for a solution of the Ayodhya issue? Is there a solution, in your opinion?
There is a solution, provided politics is taken out of this issue. For politicians it is an issue to gather votes and for the VHP it is a means to gather notes. Let Hindu and Muslim religious leaders and intelligentsia sit together and talk. Mutual understanding, mutual trust and dialogue can pave the way for a solution and I intend to begin this process now. Indefinitely keeping the temple issue in abeyance is not good for either Hindus or Muslims or the nation.
* But why did the VHP have to hold the programme now? Who has gained from this programme?
Nobody. Certainly not the BJP, if they were hoping to gain. They have been seen to be speaking in different voices. They have lost credibility. They have been totally exposed. It has now been proved beyond doubt that the movement has lost wind. People know that this issue is like a five-year plan for them, they raise it every five years when the elections come.