The BJP on Monday accused the Congress of using its leaders to build momentum against the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya and wondered whether the opposition party’s president, Rahul Gandhi, is a Hindu.
The BJP’s attack came a day after Congress leader Shashi Tharoor reportedly remarked at an event in Chennai that no “good Hindu” would have wanted to see the Ram temple built by demolishing somebody else’s place of worship, even as the Congress distanced itself from the remarks and stated that the Thiruvananthapuram MP made them in his “personal capacity”.
Tharoor on Monday condemned the “malicious distortion” of his words, and said that he made the remarks in his personal capacity, and not as a spokesperson of his party. Addressing the media, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said his party wants an early verdict from the Supreme Court on the Ram temple case but the Congress is trying everything to delay it. He alleged that Congress leaders had earlier filed a plea in court to delay the matter and Tharoor is the latest to join the trend by linking construction of the temple with “demolition of disputed structure”, which took place decades back.
The BJP, he said, wants a grand Ram temple and will wait for the court’s verdict, and asked Rahul Gandhi to clear his stand. “You (Congress) are conspiring to ensure that there is no verdict from the court,” Rao said. The BJP leader alleged that the Congress is engrossed in “vote bank politics”, and alleged that Rahul Gandhi had earlier claimed that his party was a “Muslim’s party”. He said Rahul wears his “Shiv bhakti” (devotion to Lord Shiv) on his sleeve but he should answer whether he is a Hindu or not, Rao said.
On Monday, Tharoor tweeted, “I condemn the malicious distortion of my words by some media in the service of political masters. I said: “most Hindus would want a temple at what they believe to be Ram’s birthplace. But no good Hindu would want it to be built by destroying another’s place of worship…. I was asked for my personal opinion at a literary festival & gave it as such. I am not a Spokesperson for my party & did not claim to be speaking for @incindia.”
Asked about Tharoor’s remarks, Congress leader R P N Singh told reporters, according to PTI, “I have not heard his statement. He has clarified that whatever he said has said that in his personal capacity…. As far as the issue is concerned, we have a clearly stated position. We have stated that this issue is in court…(and) whatever is the verdict, everybody will have to follow the same.”
Singh said the Supreme Court’s verdict will be binding and acceptable to all and the government will have to implement it. At the press conference, BJP’s Rao also accused the Congress of following a double-pronged strategy of showing its love for Pakistan and “working to break India” as part of Rahul Gandhi’s “divisive mindset”. He cited Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s reported comments that he can relate to Pakistan more than South India to hit out at the opposition party.