Lucknow/Ayodhya/New Delhi: Mohammed Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant in the Babri Masjid case, has accused Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan of seeking to take political advantage of the issue and said he will not pursue the case any further.
Ansari, who is in his early 90s, also said he did not want to see "Ram Lalla" in a tent but in a free and open state.
Mohammed Hashim Ansari
Ansari's remarks triggered political reactions, with the Bharatiya Janata Party welcoming them and the Bahujan Samaj Party demanding a probe into the circumstances in which he made the comments.
Ansari said he was fed up with the politicisation of the issue.
"Whether it is Babri masjid or Ram Janmabhoomi, it has become a battleground of politics. I do not want to befool Hindus or Muslims. I will not pursue the Babri Masjid case at any cost," he said.
Ansari also said he will not take part in any programme Dec 6, the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.
He hit out at Azam Khan, a minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh, and said: "I file the case and political advantage is taken by Azam Khan. Hence, I will not pursue it. Let Azam Khan fight it."
Ansari said when Azam Khan can visit temples of Chitrakoot, why can't he visit Ayodhya.
Talking to All India Radio, Ansari said when he sees Ram Lalla in a tent, it pains him and he does not want that to continue. He said he wants to see Ram Lalla to be free and open.
In remarks to Times Now channel, Ansari said he was ready to talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.
"The door for talks is open. I will talk to him, welcome him," Ansari said.
Zafaryab Jilani, legal advisor to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said Ansari's recusal from the case would not have much effect.
He said Ansari may be upset over some issue or has not been properly briefed.
BSP chief Mayawati said the state government should probe the circumstances in which Ansari made the remarks.
"If the state government does not do it, then the central government should do it," she said.
BJP leader Yogi Adityanath welcomed Ansari's decision and said talks should be held and a bigger Ram Mandir should be constructed at the site.
BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma described Ansari's comments as "a good beginning".
He said if a solution to the Babri Mosque dispute could be found through talks, it will be a historic decision.
D. Raja of the Communist Party of India wondered if Ansari was under some pressure.
"Legal implications arising out of Mohammad Hashim Ansari leaving the case would have to be looked into by court but my point is whether he is under pressure," Raja said.