Postures on both sides hardened after a visibly upset VHP chief Ashok Singhal charged the Atal Behari Vajpayee government of betraying the Ramjanmabhoomi movement. Caustic and categoric in his attack of the government's efforts to resolve the mandir issue, he said, "It (the government) has gone back on its commitment to society", he said, and compared the peace efforts to "serving a dish in a toilet bowl". The All India Babri Masjid Action Committee, which, like the VHP, had been kept out of the peace talks, seized the opportunity to lambast the Centre. "The Vajpayee government is working against the Muslims. Even now, it is willy-nilly backing the VHP," said convenor Zafaryab Jilani.
Once the RSS unequivocally came out on the side of the VHP, the government and its unofficial negotiator, the Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, had no option but to back down and look for a face-saving and graceful withdrawal from the negotiating table. That the PM cannot easily set aside the RSS diktat was evident from the fact that he did not raise the Ramjanmabhoomi issue at the BJP's chintan baithak in Mumbai. RSS sarsanghchalak K.S. Sudarshan, in his interview to Outlook, was quite categorical that Ayodhya, the Kashi temple at Varanasi and the Krishnajanmasthan at Mathura were non-negotiable. "I told him (the Shankaracharya)," he said, "if we had to make a compromise we'd have done so in 1991...the Ramjanmabhoomi andolan will go on. The VHP will reach out to one crore people."