What Exactly Does Congress Want From The Ram Janmabhoomi Case?

 What Exactly Does Congress Want From The Ram Janmabhoomi Case?Kapil Sibal and Dipak Misra.
Snapshot
  • Sibal has made it a habit of invariably opposing the Hindu party in all important cases that are being argued before the Supreme Court.

The Congress party has once again managed to tie itself up in knots. On the one hand, the Congress president and his mother, the former Congress president, are trying to underscore the party’s Hindu credentials. On the other hand, the party is hard pressed to defend Kapil Sibal’s constant espousal of anti-Hindu causes, including his appearance for those opposing the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. To quote Humphrey Appleby from Yes Minister, if one was a Congressman right now, one would be pretty close to being a ‘stark, raving lunatic’ given the schizophrenia that has enveloped the party when it comes to Hindu issues.

A very popular defence that apologists of the Congress party keep trotting out is that a lawyer cannot be identified by the briefs that he takes up. The proposition is something, that as a lawyer myself, I hold to be correct. However, it does not really apply to the present case. Sibal has made it a habit of invariably opposing the Hindu party in all important cases that are being argued before the Supreme Court. He opposed the abolition of triple talaq. He has also opposed the annulment of Hadiya’s marriage to a member of an Islamist organisation. And to pile glory upon glory, he is also now opposing the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

I am hard pressed to find even a single instance wherein he might have appeared for a Hindu party or espoused a cause that was dear to Hindu hearts. There is also some indication that he may have taken up some of these cases, especially the second one, pro bono. Given the high fees that he charges for a single appearance before the Supreme Court of India, it is not surprising that today people are asking uncomfortable questions in relation to his proximity to jihadis and jihad apologists. Politically, he has always been a lightweight. In Sheila Dikshit’s salad days, it was easy for him to contest from Chandni Chowk and get elected.

However, as on date, it is well-nigh impossible for him to do that given the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s resurgence in the state. It is clear now that inter alia, he is also now a political liability as far as the Congress party is concerned even though there are news reports to the effect that he would not be appearing for the Muslim parties in the Ramjanmabhoomi case. However, to my mind, by now the damage has already been done.

If at all the Congress party is serious about appealing to Hindu voters, the second thing that it needs to do urgently (first being to drop Sibal from all party positions like a hot potato), is to ensure that it stops sponsoring silly things like a motion for the removal of Justice Deepak Mishra as Chief Justice of India. The last attempt made by the Congress-led ecosystem to smear the credibility of the incumbent highest judicial officer in the country ended in a major embarrassment for the Congress party as the Chief Justice exercised his prerogative as the Master of the Roster by retaining all PIL matters before his own court in line with the practice followed by all other major high courts in the country. The motion for the removal is in all likelihood going to fail and fail spectacularly at that.

The opposition might have the numbers to initiate such a motion but there is absolutely no chance of it being able to carry it through. As this drama is going on, the people of this country are wondering as to why the Congress is so dead against one particular judge who is going to retire in seven months at any rate. The inescapable conclusion that one reaches is that the only reason could be that the grand old party apprehends that in case there is a verdict in favour of the Hindu parties in the Ram Janmabhoomi case, the same would lead to a groundswell of support as far as the BJP is concerned, which would in turn make it impossible for the opposition to make a comeback to power in 2019.

Given that, the adventures of the Congress are not something that the Hindu majority of this country is likely to take kindly to, and Rahul Gandhi being a janeudhari Hindu in addition to being a member of the Congress party would be well advised to desist from any such misadventure.

Raghav Awasthi is a lawyer based in Delhi and a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). 

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