New Delhi, June 12: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee kept a distance from the Ram temple movement and in private conversations objected to its agitational stance, according to a new book titled "Shades of Saffron: From Vajpayee to Modi" by seasoned journalist Saba Naqvi.

The book, said to reveal "hitherto unknown aspects" about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), points out that Vajpayee openly admitted to "being irritated by questions about the Ram temple in Ayodhya". 

But Naqvi, who has had the first-hand experience of covering the BJP for well over two decades, contends that "the building of a grand Ram temple was a core issue that the BJP couldn't afford to ignore". 

"Vajpayee therefore made a subtle change in tack and said that it was no longer necessary for a BJP government to enact a legislation to build a temple at Ayodhya," Naqvi writes in the book, published by Westland.

"We will resolve the issue through dialogue -- the same way we resolved the Azadari dispute between the Shias and Sunnis of Lucknow. A law will not be needed," Vajpayee, who is currently undergoing treatment for urinary tract infection at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) here, is quoted as saying in the book. 

In this context, Naqvi explains that it is fascinating that the "issue is again central to the BJP as it heads for the 2019 general elections" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm. 

"There are still legal constraints on the party's desire to build a ‘magnificent Ram temple at Ayodhya' and the same path is again being trod almost two decades later by some individuals like Sri Sri Ravishankar who's trying to get stakeholders to resolve matters," Naqvi notes in the 284-page book.

She also points out that several informed people on both sides say that the long-awaited verdict on the disputed land "could be delivered in 2018", before the general elections. 

"What's more, in May 2017, the Supreme Court of India also revived criminal conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti for bringing down the Babri mosque," she adds. 

In the context of Ram mandir, the book also touches upon an earlier conversation between the author and late Kushabhau Thakre, who became party president of the BJP in 1998.

"‘Can anyone think about India without Ram?' he once asked me, but added with utmost honesty that ‘We can only implement our ideology if we have the strength to do so. Yeh sab hamara karyakram hai, lekin shakti nahin hai' (All this is in our agenda but we lack the strength to pursue it)," Naqvi recalls in the book. 

Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had earlier told IANS that the best solution to the festering Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute is an out-of-court settlement under which the Muslims gift the land to the Hindus for building a grand Ram temple. 

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Mumbai, Jul 22: A speeding Audi car, driven by a man allegedly in an inebriated state, rammed into two stationary autorickshaws in Mumbai's Mulund area on Monday, leaving four persons injured, police said.

The police arrested the accused, Dattatray Gore (43), a resident of Kanjurmarg, from his sister's house after he fled the scene, leaving the vehicle behind, an official said.

The incident occurred around 6.15 am on Dumping Road, and the police later impounded the high-end car, he said.

The car rammed into two stationary autorickshaws, injuring two drivers and as many passengers. Their condition is said to be stable, the official said.

The police collected the accused's blood sample and sent it to Kalina Forensic Science Laboratory. It was found that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, he said.

A case has been registered under relevant provisions of the Bhartiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS) and Motor Vehicle Act, the official said.

This incident follows a recent accident in Worli, where a BMW fatally struck a woman riding as a pillion on a two-wheeler.