New Delhi, Oct 4: BJP leader L K Advani feels "vindicated" about his Ayodhya 'rath yatra' in the wake of the Allahabad High Court verdict and prefers a negotiated settlement for building a Ram temple at the place where the makeshift now stands.
Advani, the mascot of the temple campaign who launched the rath yatra in 1989, also rejects criticism that the last week's judgement of the Lucknow Bench puts faith above law, saying it is only a case of "faith upheld by law".
He strongly endorses his party president Nitin Gadkari's suggestion that Muslims can build a mosque "outside the complex" in Faizabad on the banks of river Saryu.
In the course of more than an hour-long interview with PTI, the BJP leader, who will turn 84 next month, is careful in his statements and does not want to appear victorious after the judgement and would not say anything that would ruffle the feathers in the Muslim community.
"Yes, I do feel vindicated because I believe that until 1989 BJP was not part of this (temple) movement which actually started in 1949," he said, to a question whether the judgement has vindicated his temple campaign launched in 1989 from Somnath to Ayodhya.
Replying to questions on what is the way forward and whether the BJP and Sangh Parivar would take the initiative for a negotiated settlement, Advani said, "The way forward is an agreement between the two communities that this (construction of temple at the disputed place in Ayodhya) should happen. What should happen let them work it out."
Advani said so far as the judgement is concerned it makes obvious that the desire of "those millions" who wanted a Ram temple to be constructed at what is believed to be the birth place of Ram will happen.
"But it would be good if this is not just a court's decision but also the decision of both the communities together."
He ruled out the possibility of Allahabad High Court verdict egging temple protagonists to rake up fresh issues over disputes surrounding Kashi and Mathura shrines on the ground that faith takes precedence over law.
"No, no. There is a sea of difference between the two. The reason for that is during negotiations (between NDA government and leaders of the two communities before 2004), the Hindus had categorically conveyed to the Muslim side, which had expressed such apprehensions, that since they would be voluntarily agreeing on a solution (to Ayodhya), that will not happen.
"We had talked about it then. I do not see this judgement (doing it) because, after all, Ayodhya has been an issue which has changed the political history of the country," he said.
During the interview, the Chairperson of the BJP Parliamentary Party and Working Chairperson of the NDA, did not want to go into issues whether the Allahabad High Court judgement justified the demolition of the disputed structure in 1992. Nor would he comment on the issue whether the judgement dilutes the demolition case. PTI