The Sunni Waqf Board on Wednesday disassociated itself from senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who had been representing it in the Supreme Court in connection with the long-standing Ayodhya matter.
Earlier in the day, Modi, while campaigning in poll-bound Gujarat, castigated Sibal for seeking deferment of hearing of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute till after the 2019 general elections, and wondered if such an issue should be kept unresolved for political gains and losses. "You want to keep the issue unresolved for political gain and losses in the elections?" Indeed, even in this instance, Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan, and Dushyant Dave were appearing for the litigants, and the Waqf Board could be backing off now because it doesn't want to be embroiled in a controversy, said a lawyer appearing for one of the litigants on condition of anonymity.
"Why does he have to link a Ram mandir (temple) with the elections. We have got nothing to do with his statement", Mehboob said. "Congress MP Kapil Sibal argued in SC yesterday to postpone the hearing on Shri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya till 2019".
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, an influential body representing Muslims, however, backed Sibal and said this "is not the right time to take up the matter for final hearing".
In a retort to Modi, the former union minister asked him to check facts before saying something in public. Slamming Congress, he further said, "If a road to solution is coming let it come.All should work towards a peaceful solution. but they (Congress party) are trying to create hurdles". Modi asked at a rally in Gujarat's Dhandhuka. In a statement to news agencies, Haji Mehboob, a litigant, said he was a member of the UP Sunni Wakf Board, and that Sibal was "our lawyer", but that his plea in court was "wrong". The elections in the country are being fought by the Congress party.
The prime minister said now he understands why the Congress kept many issues unresolved, without elaborating but implying that it was done to derive political mileage. "It is certain that Sibal spoke in his capacity as a Congress leader, with the blessings of their high command".
"Congress" stand has always been clear, that the Ayodhya matter will be heard and decided by the Supreme Court.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surejwala dismissed the row, saying the BJP was raking up non-issues just to garner votes.