New Delhi: Former PMs PV Narasimha Rao, Rajiv Gandhi and VP Singh failed to take serious actions on time when the Babri Masjid was under threat, claimed former Union home secretary Madhav Godbole, in his new book on Babri Masjid, titled ‘The Babri Masjid-Ram mandir Dilemma: An Acid Test for India’s Constitution’. The claims come at a time when the verdict on this case is awaited after 40-day-log hearing.

“If political initiative had been taken at the prime minister’s level, the Mahabharata of this Ramayana could have been avoided,” the ex-bureaucrat has written in his book.

When Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister, some workable compromise solutions were suggested to resolve the dispute, before positions had hardened on either side but no steps were taken. V P Singh remained firm after promulgating an ordinance vesting the specified area in and around the Babri Masjid in the central government, the book says, as reported by PTI.

In 1992, the ministry of home affairs had prepared a comprehensive contingency plan for the takeover of the structure by invoking Article 356 of the Constitution. On November 4, Madhav Godbole himself submitted the plan to the Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Senior Advisor to Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Prime Minister.

The plan was to take the mosque and the surrounding area over to ensure its security, timing etc.

“For this purpose, it was underlined that action would have to be taken well before the proposed date of commencement of ‘kar seva’ so as to avoid the presence of large number of ‘kar sevaks” and huge crowds at the time of action,” he writes in the book. It was also highlighted that imposition of President’s Rule under Article 356 would be necessary before the central forces commenced their action, he says.

But Mr Rao felt the contingency plan was not workable and dismissed it, he says.

“Rao held a different view regarding the powers of the central government under the Constitution and preferred to rely on the promises made and commitments given by the state government to the central government, the National Integration Council (NIC) and the Supreme Court,” Mr Godbole says.

The former home secretary also blamed the then governor of Uttar Pradesh B Satya Narayan Reddy for “failing miserably in assessing the seriousness of the situation in the state and advising the Centre against the imposition of President’s Rule”.

(With PTI Inputs)