Three days before the Supreme Court fixes a date for hearing of appeals challenging the Allahabad High Court order in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, responding to a question on bringing an ordinance for the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site, said Tuesday that “after the judicial process is over, wherever our responsibility as a government begins, we are ready to make all efforts”.
In an interview to news agency ANI, the PM suggested that the judicial process was being slowed down by Congress lawyers who were creating hurdles in the Supreme Court.
“Nobody can deny that those in governments in the 70 years since Independence tried their best to stall a solution to this (Ayodhya) issue… Don’t weigh it in political terms… I especially beseech colleagues in the Congress, for the sake of peace, security and amity, to stop their lawyers from creating hurdles in court… Let the judicial process take its own course… All lawyers should try for an early verdict,” he said.
Former Reserve Bank of India governor Urjit Patel had personally written to the Prime Minister about wanting to resign, citing personal reasons, several months before stepping down from the office in December, Modi said.
“The governor himself requested (to resign) because of personal reasons. I am revealing for the first time, he was telling me about this for the past 6-7 months before his resignation. He gave it even in writing. He wrote to me personally.”
Patel resigned after a months-long tussle over policy with the government.
When asked if there was any political pressure on the governor to resign, Modi denied that was the case.
“No such question arises. I acknowledge that Patel did a good job as RBI Governor.”
Responding to a question on why the government has not brought an ordinance on the Ram temple issue as it did in the case of triple talaq, Modi pointed out that the triple talaq ordinance was brought “after the Supreme Court verdict and in the light of the verdict”.
On Ayodhya, he said the matter is in court, possibly in its final stages: “We have said in our BJP manifesto that a solution should be found under the ambit of the Constitution… Let the judicial process get over. After the judicial process is over, wherever our responsibility as a government begins, we are ready to make all efforts.”
BJP on Sabarimala and triple talaq
“You should see it differently. These are two separate things. Most Islamic countries, including Pakistan, have banned triple talaq. So, it is not a matter of religion or faith. It is an issue of gender equality, matter of social justice. It is not an issue of faith. In India, we respect all religions. Every temple has its own customs and traditions. There are some temples in India where men cannot enter. Men cannot go there. The judgement by the woman judge should be read carefully. No need to attribute this to any political party, she has given that order looking at the issue as a woman. There has to be a debate on it also.”
* On demonetisation
“No one could deny there was a parallel economy in this country. There was a need for formal economy. Note ban’s biggest achievement was that currencies which we used to see coming out of different places have come to the banking system. We needed to have an atmosphere of honesty and now we have more people in the tax net. Are these not a positive impact of the note ban? Cash-to-GDP ratio is going down… This did not happen overnight. It was a year-long process. We had warned people a year earlier, that if you have such wealth (black money), you can deposit it, pay penalties and you will be helped out. However, they thought Modi too would behave like others, so very few came forward voluntarily. It was necessary for the country’s economy. Any change would slow down growth… When Manmohan Singh was finance minister and introduced economic reforms, the GDP dropped, but it revived soon.”
(With Reuters inputs)