On 9th November 2019, the Supreme Court of India delivered a historic verdict in the Ayodhya case. The entire 67 acre land of Ram Janmabhoomi was handed over to the Hindus to build a Bhavya Ram Mandir and Muslims were granted 5 acres of land alternatively where they could choose to build a mosque. This Supreme Court judgement is perhaps one of the first where the judicial process has been used to solve a historic-cultural issue that has gone on for centuries. The Congress party released an official statement through their spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. The official stand of the Congress party was that they support and accept the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya case and are in favour of the construction of the Ram Temple at Ram Janmabhoomi.
However, this statement has not gone down well with Salman Khurshid, senior Congress leader who had claimed that Sonia Gandhi cried bitterly for the terrorists after the Batla House encounter.
In an interview to Hindustan Times, Salman Khurshid has said that he would have preferred for Congress to simply say that they support the Supreme Court judgement instead of saying that they support the building of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya.
Salman Khurshid started off by saying that there is an incorrect assumption that Congress is only for minorities and not for the majorities, but after being prodded by the HT journalist Sunetra Choudhury, who asked him if he as a Muslim leader accepts the Congress stand that a Ram Temple must be built, Salman Khurshid said that if it were him, he would have said things differently.
He said that in their party manifesto, it was clearly mentioned that Congress would honour and respect the Supreme Court judgement in Ayodhya. Further, he said that there were several elements to the judgement. Where the 67 acres land has been given to the Trust that will build a Ram Temple there, another land has been given to Muslims for the mosque. The judgement also talks about 3 incidents that were illegal aggressions against the mosque. Saying that many people would pick and choose what they want to highlight, the Congress party doing so gives the wrong message.
He said if he had to mention, he would have mentioned the Temple and the mosque both. He said that this question would not have arisen if the Congress party had simply said that they support the Supreme Court judgement.
While defending Randeep Surjewala, Salman Khurshid said that he does his job as the spokesperson and tries to present a balanced view, however, they are not slaves and he would have said things differently.
Salman also admitted that it was decided in the party that the only stand that would be publicly furthered was that they support the Supreme Court judgement. He also said that Congress should have supposed the judgement in totality instead of listing out what specifically they support or not.
On the question, whether this has alienated the Muslim votebank of Congress, Khurshid said that the Muslims of the country also have to understand that these are ‘difficult times’. And they would be alienated if someone walked all over them and trampled them, but the Congress party is not doing that. In respect to Maharashtra and the tie-up with Shiv Sena too, Salman Khurshid said that political parties have to move ahead and cannot be frozen in time. That Shiv Sena has recently been taking stands that should be encouraged and they should be ‘mainstreamed’ by Congress.