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13 Days

The drama lasted 13 days and revealed the bickering within the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The issue? The case against L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and six others, all leaders of the BJP and its affiliates. Should charges be framed against them for their involvement in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992?

Human Development Resources Minister Joshi declared that if charges were framed against him, he would quit. This, even after the BJP leadership indicated that no one need resign since the case was political in nature. Political observers felt Joshi was trying to force Deputy Prime Minister Advani to quit should the latter too be charged.

On September 19, the special court at Rae Bareli said while charges against Advani would be dropped, they should be framed against Joshi and the others. Joshi then resigned.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee did not reject the resignation outright but said all colleagues would decide on it. For the next couple of days, one could have cut the tension in the BJP with a knife.

Joshi appealed against the judgment in the Allahabad high court, which on September 30 stayed the framing of charges against the minister and asked for the records to hear the case. Following which, Vajpayee rejected Joshi's resignation.

Text: A K Diwanji

Charges against Joshi, Advani free
Joshi sends resignation to PM
HC stays proceedings against Joshi
Joshi resumes work
The Ayodhya homepage

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