Ram temple is an issue of faith and will not be on BJP’s agenda in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, party’s newly-appointed state unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya said Tuesday. Maurya said BJP will contest the polls on development agenda only.
“Hamara mudda mandir nahin, vikas hoga…Bhagwan Ram meri aastha hain, mudda mera vikas hai (Ram temple will not be agenda for polls. BJP will contest the polls on the issue of development. Lord Ram is an issue of faith for us),” Maurya said.
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A first-time MP, Maurya also claimed that “Lord Ram has never been at centre of politics for BJP…we have done politics using the name of Lord Ram or the Ram temple issue”. He, however, said the party will wait for the construction of Ram temple “whether it is done through a law, court order or mutual consent”.
Asked if the BJP was planning to move a bill in the Parliament for constructing Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Phulpur MP said, “We do not have majority in the Rajya Sabha. If we had the majority, we would have got the GST Bill passed and implemented in public interest”.
Maurya’s statement comes a day after VHP international working president Pravin Togadia exuded confidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will keep his “promise” of constructing the Ram temple in Ayodhya and said that the time has come for bringing a law in Parliament in this regard.
“When VHP launched its agitation for construction of Ram temple, we made it clear that the way for it is through a law to be enacted in Parliament. In its 1987 national executive meeting at Palampur, BJP passed a resolution to build the Ram temple through a law. Time has come for bringing a law and pave the way for its construction…Narendra Bhai is true to his promise and we are confident that he will fulfil his promise by bringing a law in Parliament for constructing the temple,” Togadia had told reporters in New Delhi.
Several senior VHP leaders have claimed in the recent times that the construction of Ram temple will begin before state goes to polls next year. Recently, truck loads of stones arrived at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya for carving structures for the temple.
Asked about the allegations that BJP rakes up the Ram temple issue for political gains, Maurya said if other political parties feel so then they should explore the opportunity in the 2017 elections.
He said BJP has vision to develop Uttar Pradesh as “Uttam Pradesh” and for that, an “Uttam government” is required. People have witnessed corruption when BSP was in power as also the failures of the SP government. Our formula is ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’,” he said, adding Prime Minister Narendra Modi will continue to remain party’s face in Uttar Pradesh.
“Our first target is to rid the state of family-oriented SP and casteist BSP and win 265-plus seats in the 403-member Assembly,” he said.
Maurya said he has not been given the responsibility to head BJP in Uttar Pradesh because he belongs to backward caste. “Other political parties do the politics of forward and backward castes. BJP is a party with democratic set up where an ordinary worker gets important responsibilities,” Maurya, who claims to have sold tea and newspapers in his early days, said.
To a query, Maurya admitted that there were criminal cases against him but claimed all of them were politically motivated and were “lodged because he battled for interests of public and party workers”. “I will keep fighting for interests of public and party workers”.
He alleged that the SP government has failed on all fronts and law and order situation was very poor in the state. “People are feeling insecure. This government is ignoring farmers. Situation in Bundelkhand is grave and we are concerned whether the relief measures announced by the Centre will be passed on to farmers by this government which is steeped in corruption,” he said.
Maurya added that he will be on tour of the state till April 24 and hold meetings with leaders and workers. He said that new state team will be announced after the end of this tour.