The Shiv Sena on Friday took on its ally BJP, with its MP Sanjay Raut saying that while “Ram bhakts” took “17 minutes to demolish” Babri masjid, how long will the government take to bring in a law or an ordinance for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
“The Babri mosque was demolished in 17 minutes… in about half an hour, what needed to be done was done by the Ram bhakts… If the Babri blot could be wiped out in 17 minutes, how long should it take to make a law… The BJP government should give a definite date for the construction of Ram temple,” Raut told mediapersons in Ayodhya ahead of the arrival of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday.
“If the government fails to build the Ram temple before 2019 elections, people will not allow them to walk anywhere freely… Government can bring an ordinance immediately. It can also evolve legislation. Who will oppose Ram temple? Those elected members who oppose will invite public wrath.”
“Instead of trying to stop the sainiks from going to Ayodhya, BJP should take pride in such committed Ram bhakts. They (BJP leaders) should show the urgency to announce the date for building the temple,” he added.
Slamming the BJP, he said: “What stops the BJP from bringing an ordinance on the Ram temple. The party is in power both at the Centre and at Uttar Pradesh.”
Asked about Sena raising the issue, Raut said, “We have always put at stake our reputation for Hindutva, for temple… We have promised people that we will construct the temple if we form the government but it has not happened… Despite the huge majority in 2014, if our government does not get the temple constructed, and again in 2019, we raise the temple slogan and go to the people, it is unacceptable to Uddhavji.”
Demanding that the government bring in a bill in Parliament over the issue, he said, “We will support it. I assure you if a bill is brought on the issue, 400 MPs, across party lines, will support it.”
This comes amid the VHP mobilising support for the construction of the temple. On Sunday, VHP plans to hold a religious conclave on the Ram temple issue in Ayodhya. Last month, the RSS too had urged the Centre to bring a legislation to facilitate the construction of the temple.
Meanwhile, accusing the Sena of fanning emotions, state NCP president Jayant Patil said, “Uddhav Thackeray has said ‘we want Ram temple first’ and then comes the government. In that case, why is Sena still continuing in government both at the Centre and the state? Thackeray should ask the party’s ministers to resign. Moreover, other than just an Ayodhya tour, what is Sena doing about the Ram temple? The people have voted the government for development.”