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Ayodhya case: Nothing against Advani, but M M Joshi will face charges

By Sharat Pradhan in Rae Bareilly
Last updated on: September 19, 2003 16:37 IST
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The special court on Friday ruled that there was no ground for framing charges against Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani in the Babri masjid demolition case, but seven others, including Union HRD Minister M M Joshi, were not so fortunate.

Judge V K Singh quashed the charge sheet against Advani while ruling that charges would be framed against BJP leaders M M Joshi, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar, VHP leaders Ashok Singhal, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Giriraj Kishore and Sadhvi Rithambara on October 10. All of them have been told to appear in court on that day.

The BJP expressed happiness about Advani being discharged, but is unhappy about the charges against the other seven. We are against Joshi resigning because it is a political case and there is no moral turpitude involved and hence, even if charges are framed, there is no obligation to quit, BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan told reporters after a party meeting.

Earlier a BJP leader had told that Advani and Joshi were prepared to resign if the special court in Rae Bareilly decides to frame charges against them.

"There is too much pressure on them from outside (the BJP). There are some who believe that their resignation will not harm the party as a message will go out that they did so for the sake of the Ram temple movement," he said.

In 2002, following a persistent demand from opposition parties, both had submitted their resignation letters to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who rejected the same.

The BJP leader also denied that Joshi had tried to put Advani in a spot by announcing his decision to resign in case the court decided to frame charges against him.

Top BJP leaders had met at Advani's residence in the morning to take stock of the situation.

With inputs from Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi and PTI

More reports from Uttar Pradesh

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Sharat Pradhan in Rae Bareilly