Slowly but surely, the Congress Party, the Grand Old Lady of Indian politics, appears to be learning the lessons. After the fiasco where the party had ended up with egg on its face on the issue of Article 370 and Article 35 A, the party seems to have realised the importance of planning ahead. The party does not want to be caught on the wrong foot on the Ayodhya issue, the verdict in which case is expected anytime soon. The party wants to give a cogent and coherent response. It appears determined to speak in one voice.
AICC chief Sonia Gandhi believes that the party leaders spoke in different voices on the issue of abrogation of the Article 370. Some spoke against the abrogation, while others spoke in favour. The Congress looked like a divided house. Even senior leaders like Bhupinder Hooda and Jyothiraditya Scindia supported the abrogation, while those like Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke like regional leaders from Kashmir valley. This has given lot of bad name to the Congress Party. Hence, the party leadership has now decided that no one should speak on the issue of Ayodhya till there are clear directions from the central leadership. No spokesperson will speak to the media on the issue. Only those designated by the party will give out their opinions.
The Congress dilemma is clear. It has spoken in favour of construction of a temple at Ram Janmabhoomi in the manifestos it released during the elections to the assemblies of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. On the other hand, it has the Muslim voters to satisfy. So, the party will bring a motion on Ayodhya soon after the Supreme Court gives its verdict. "All should abide by what the Supreme Court says," is the blanket rule that the Congress has issued to its leaders and cadre.