Accusing the BJP-led central government of adopting “tactics of delay” over the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, Hindu saints and seers Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to spell out his government’s stand on the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya even as they suggested measures to the Centre on how to proceed further on this matter.
Gathered for the ‘sant sammelan’ organised by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) at Magh Mela ground in Allahabad, the saints together called for a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament and urged the Centre to call Hindu seers over for a meeting on the temple issue.
But it was the direct attack on the PM in which the seers expressed their displeasure over the “delay”. Leading the pack was former BJP MP and member of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, Ram Vilas Vedanti.
“Modi can offer prayer at Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi and Pashupatinath temple in Nepal and even at a temple in Dhaka. He can take selfie at the biggest mosque of Arabs (Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in UAE’s Abu Dhabi in August last year). Then why doesn’t he visit Ayodhya and takes a selfie with Ramlala Darbar to send the message that he will build the temple?” Vedanti asked the PM.
He recalled saints’ announcement before the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 in which Modi’s candidacy for the top post was pitched over claims that path for the temple’s construction would be cleared if Modi was to be at the helm of affairs. “But his government is completing two years now and no one from the Centre has invited us to discuss the issue,” Vedanti said.
“On behalf of all the saints, I propose before the PM that he call a joint session of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and pass a bill for the temple’s construction,” he said.
Jagadguru Vasudevanand of Allahabad, who presided over the sammelan, echoed Vedanti’s suggestion. “The government says it does not have majority in the Rajya Sabha. But it can call a joint session for Ram temple just like Sardar Patel did for Somnath temple. If it (Modi govt) does so, the government will continue to run, otherwise…” Vasudevanand said and stopped to remark, “you all know what I mean”.
Mahant Suresh Das of Ayodhya’s Digambar Akhara wondered “why can’t the two Houses sit jointly for Ram temple or a separate bench in the Supreme Court be constituted to hear the temple case on a daily basis, when the two Houses can come together to hike allowances of MPs and the SC can hear the cases of terrorists for longer hours”.
Das said he was hopeful of the court’s judgement being “in favour of the Hindus” but claimed the VHP “will still have to fight because the other party (Muslims) will not accept the judgement”.
Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas’ head Nritya Gopal Das, on the other hand, appeared soft on Modi when he said there could be “various issues before the Centre”.
“Being a prime minister, Modi has to take various decisions. Once he gets settled, a delegation of saints should meet him to apprise him of the opinion of the Hindu community, which wants the temple to be built at the earliest,” he said.
He asked VHP workers to take the issue to the masses to create a “voice” which the Supreme Court and the PM “can take cognizance of”. He maintained that the community of saints does not belong to any political party but gives blessings to the BJP “because it talks about Hindutva and temple”. “Jo Ram ka hai, woh hamare kaam ka hai.”
Rameshwardas of Rishikesh, however, argued that while the community can give its blessings, it can also “put a curse”. He then claimed that the temple will “definitely be constructed” but only at an opportune time — “when the stars and planets are at the right places”. He, too, defended the Modi government, saying those who were against the construction “are now provoking the public by questioning Modi over the delay”.
Ajwesharanand Saraswati of Bihar tried to explain that those in opposition of the temple have “political ambitions”. “It is the duty of all Hindus to expose those politicians who create a group against the temple,” he said.
Jagadguru Krishnacharya seemed satisfied that the country “does not have a speechless PM now”. “He is working but people have more expectations from him.”
VHP’s international general secretary Champat Rai said the temple issue was “almost in its final stage and only one hurdle is left in the path of the temple’s construction”. He, however, did not specify this “hurdle”.
Narendranand Saraswati of Kashi said the Indian government, after the Pathankot attack, has been “acting like a secretary to Pakistan by giving evidence”. He demanded the Home Ministry and the President to “dispose of the files related to terrorists within 15 days”.
The Modi government faced the wrath of saints over Ganga cleaning issue, too. Vedanti, in his speech, said the “river’s condition can be gauged by seeing it in Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi”. Narendranand Saraswati was more direct in his attack, saying the Centre’s move to form a ministry dedicated to Ganga and the appointment of a saint as its minister “were only on papers and nothing has been done on the ground”.