For The BJP, Kapil Sibal’s Foot In The Mouth Disease Is A Gift That Keeps On Giving

Congress leader Kapil Sibal talks to media persons after meeting with Election Commissioner on 2 August 2017. (Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

One of the appellants in the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board on Wednesday said it wanted speedy justice in the case and was not in favour of shifting the hearing till after the 2019 general elections.

Congress leader and former union minister Kapil Sibal, had, however, said in the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the appeals be heard in July 2019 after the completion of the next Lok Sabha polls as the atmosphere at present was not conducive.

“The board is of the view that hearing in the case be held and the matter is disposed of promptly… I do not know on whose behalf the counsel for the Muslims appearing in the apex court, Kapil Sibal had stated this… No such directive had been given by the board,” chairman of the Sunni Waqf Board Zafar Farooqui said.

Another party to the case, Haji Mehboob said he also wanted early disposal of the matter and did not approve of Sibal’s stand. He hinted that Sibal's connection with the Congress might have influenced his statement in the apex court.

Reacting on Sibal’s contention before the court, Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah asked the Congress and Rahul Gandhi to clarify their stand on this count. The Congress has retorted by saying that Shah’s statement was aimed at diverting attention from real issues in the Gujarat polls.

Sibal also came under stinging attack from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was on the campaign trail in the western state of Gujarat. Modi criticised Sibal for attempting to link the legal tangle to the next general elections, wondering if such an issue should be kept unresolved for political gains and losses. Modi unleashed a tirade against him and the Congress on the issue, while congratulating the Waqf Board for saying that Sibal's argument was wrong and it wants a speedy resolution of the issue.

“The Sunni Waqf Board must be congratulated for their brave stand on the matter and disassociating themselves from the statement of Kapil Sibal ji,” the Prime Minister said while addressing a public gathering in Gujarat.

"Does the Waqf Board fight elections? Are these thoughts of delaying the hearing for elections that of the Waqf Board? The elections in the country are being fought by the Congress party. You want to keep the issue unresolved for political gains and losses in the elections?" Modi said while addressing a rally in Gujarat.

With inputs from PTI