It is no kite-flying season in Uttar Pradesh right now; yet, the state’s deputy chief minister, Keshav Prasad Maurya, seems to have taken an unseasonal fancy for it. His statement that the Centre can bring legislation in Parliament for the construction of a Ram Mandir if there are no other options can be considered nothing more than kite-flying. But his kite has not just one, but so many strings attached that it has no chance of taking off.
The provocation for Maurya in bringing up the issue is not very apparent. In the same breath as he proposed his formula, he also spoke about the constraints it would face.
“At present, in Parliament, we don’t have the adequate strength to push the Bill through. Because, even if we bring the matter in the Lok Sabha, our strength in the Rajya Sabha is less and it’ll surely be defeated. Every devotee of Lord Rama knows this,” he has said in a statement released to various media outlets.
It is not clear if the message was meant as an apology over the BJP government’s inability to construct the temple as promised, or if it was an appeal to the people to give the party a comfortable majority in the coming elections. The ruling party already has the requisite numbers in the Lok Sabha; and a majority in Rajya Sabha can come only from winning more seats in the states. Either way, there is so much air in his assertions.
The Modi government has struggled to get even less complicated issues past Parliament due to the lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha. It did manage to get approval for the Bill seeking to overcome the Supreme Court strictures against provisions of the law dealing with atrocities against SCs/STs, but that is an issue on which no party would like be seen arraigned against. The Ram Mandir dispute is too complex to be pushed through this route.
The intrigue in the statement is heightened by the fact that the Supreme Court last month resumed hearing the case and he did not fail to make a mention of it. After eliminating all third-party litigants and limiting the issue to the core elements, the court is set to decide on the claims on the land in question. The court has made it clear that it was not concerned with any move for an out-of-court settlement by the parties.
The court’s endeavour would be to legally examine the claims of different parties on the basis of documents and evidence brought before it. The various parties had been asked to bring on record all documents and exhibits, including their translations. The court has since reserved its judgment, pending consideration of all the documents. And it promises to be epoch-making, whenever it comes.