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Union minister and BJP leader Uma Bharti today dismissed the Congress demand for her resignation after the Supreme Court ordered that she be tried for criminal conspiracy in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case.
There was "no conspiracy and everything was in open" in the matter, she told reporters after the apex court verdict.
Bharti said she was "proud, unapologetic and unrepentant" about her association with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and was prepared to get "hanged or be jailed" on the issue of construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
The firebrand leader, who had earlier today announced her plan to visit Ayodhya tomorrow to seek Lord Ram's blessings for the construction of a temple, later said she has postponed the visit by a few days.
She said that the visit was postponed as it could have turned into a "political event" given the "media hype" surrounding the issue.
According to sources in the BJP, Bharti cancelled the plan on the advice of party president Amit Shah.
"There was no conspiracy, everything was in the open...I was associated with the Ram temple movement with full confidence and pride.
"The court has said that we be tried for conspiracy. There was no conspiracy...Yes, I was present in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 (when the disputed structure was demolished). Where does one see any conspiracy?" Bharti asked.
"I am ready to face whatever punishment it takes for the construction of a temple at Ayodhya or be it on the issue of cleaning of the Ganga, the tricolour or cow. I have never repented or apologised," she said.
Hitting out at the Congress for seeking her resignation, Bharti referred to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and claimed that then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had sought to justify the killings post the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
"When thousands of Sikhs died in the riots, Sonia Gandhi was at the house of her husband. Rajiv was trying to justify the massacre.
"So, can we say she was part of a conspiracy? The Congress has no moral right to seek my resignation," she said.
At the same time, Bharti said she is not the type of a person who wants to sticks to any post and recalled she had quit chief ministership in Madhya Pradesh over a decade ago after a court convicted her in a case involving the national flag.
"I gave up the chief minister's post after a court convicted me. In this (Ayodhya) case, the trial is yet to begin. The charges are yet to be proved," she said but added, "The post of a minister is too small for me."
To a question, Bharti said she has not discussed the issue with BJP veteran L K Advani, who too will face trial on charge of conspiracy in the case.
She did not reply to a question on Advani's remark that the demolition of the mosque was the "saddest" day in his life.
"I will never comment on what Advani ji said. I can speak for myself. This country relates to cow, Ganga, Ram, the tricolour. I will sacrifice life if I see insult to any of these," she added.
Top BJP leaders Advani, M M Joshi and Bharti will be tried for criminal conspiracy in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case with the Supreme Court allowing the CBI plea to restore the charge against them.
The court also clubbed the trial in the matter pending against the leaders and 'karsevaks' and ordered day-to-day trial in Lucknow with the proceedings to be completed in two years.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)