Making a controversial statement, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday objected to conferring Bharat Ratna on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying he had a role in Babri Masjid demolition.
Vajpayee, founding member of Bharatiya Janata Party who is held in high esteem across the political spectrum, was on March 27 conferred with Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Vajpayee, who was Prime Minister from 1998 to 2004, and has faded from public life due to age-related illness, is lauded as a statesman and has been often described as the moderate face of BJP.
He has been credited with taking bold initiatives, notable among them being the historic bus journey to Lahore in 1999 when he signed the landmark Lahore Declaration with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with both sides pledging to push for peace and security.
Vajpayee’s detractors called him the “mask” of RSS but still always had good words for him. Regarded as one of the most charismatic leaders, he was lauded as a statesman politician whose acceptability across the board broke barriers and brought BJP to centre stage of politics in the late 1990s after the demolition of Babri Masjid.
Babri Masjid had been demolished on December 6, 1992 sparking off communal riots across the country. Many senior leaders including LK Advani, MM Joshi, Vinay Katiyar and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Hari Dalmiya, Sadhvi Ritambrara, and Mahant Avaidyanath were charged for conspiracy in the demolition.