Congress leader Kapil Sibal hit out at PM Narendra Modi during the Gujarat election campaign
Congress leader Kapil Sibal, attacked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah over his plea in the Supreme Court to defer the Ayodhya case till after the 2019 elections, hit back on Wednesday evening asking his critics to check their facts.
"Our PM comments without knowing things sometimes. Amit Shah and he said I represented the Sunni Waqf Board. I was never a Sunni Waqf Board lawyer," Mr Sibal stated, adding that he was representing an individual in the Ayodhya case. He also said, "The Ram temple will be built when God wants it built, not when Modiji wants it. The matter is in court."
At an election meeting in Gujarat today, PM Modi censured the Congress over Mr Sibal's petition in the Supreme Court, saying that while the Congress leader and senior lawyer has the right to defend the Babri masjid in court, it was not proper to "link Ram mandir with the Lok Sabha elections."
At another rally, PM Modi congratulated the Sunni Waqf Board for their "brave stand", a reference to the board's member Haji Mehboob disowning Mr Sibal argument in court and insisting that they too wanted an early decision.
Haji Mehboob, however, backed out after Zafaryab Jilani, convenor of the Babri Masjid Action Committee contradicted him. Mr Jilani said Mr Sibal's statement in court was made after "consultation with all advocates including leaders of the Muslim Personal Law Board. Mr Sibal had discussed this".
The senior lawyer, whose argument in court was used by the BJP to try to corner the Congress, also rubbed it in.
PM Modi did not check the fact that he had never represented the Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court, Mr Sibal said.
The court order had listed Mr Sibal as a lawyer for an individual, Mohammad Hashim.
The Prime Minister should be a "little more careful", he said, asking the ruling party to "address the concerns of India" and "not divide the people of our country like this".
BJP chief Amit Shah also had yesterday quoted Mr Sibal to challenge Congress boss Rahul Gandhi to clarify his party's stand on the Ram temple. The BJP, Mr Shah said, is clear it wants the dispute resolved at the soonest. "The Supreme Court should give a judgment and a grand Ram temple should be built in Ayodhya," he said.