The Supreme Court has given directive to complete the trial against BJP leaders accused of conspiracy to demolish the Babri Masjid. The court has said that Uma Bharti, Modi's water resources minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veterans L. K. Advani and M. M. Joshi, should face the trial on criminal conspiracy charges for making inflammatory speeches that has incited Hindus to tear down the 16th century mosque.
The court's decision to order the trial and for it to be completed within two years, will be a blow to the BJP and revive the debate about the brand of Hindu nationalism within Modi's party.
The BJP is committed in building a temple on the site of the mosque, which Hindus consider as the birthplace of SriRam, "within the framework of the constitution".
It is for the courts to decide whether Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and other BJP leaders accused in the case have actually conspired to get the structure razed.
For the BJP, the order could be a blessing in disguise. It could mean an opportunity to keep the Hindutva pot boiling and serving the Ram Mandir issue hot in the 2019 elections. A speedy and almost day-to-day trial of the case would ensure that the issue, the BJP and its affiliates are holding close to their heart since Independence continues to dominate headlines.
The trial is bound to get a lot of attention because of the involvement of the BJP's top brass. It could end as a PR heist for the Hindutva brigade. If Advani, Joshi and other alleged conspirators get indicted, the party would do everything to showcase them as martyrs to the Hindutva cause, a strategy, like the Ram Mandir movement, become a dominant theme in elections, where the majority is already looking to assert itself and has several grievances, both imaginations and real, against the minorities.
If they are let off by the courts, BJP could always claim the high moral ground, arguing how its leaders, like Sita, faced an agni pariksha and emerged clean.