Shiv Sena Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday asked the BJP-led central government to spell out the date when the Ram temple will be constructed. Thackeray was in Ayodhya with son Aditya and wife Rashmi to extend his support to the right-wing Hindu outfits’ chorus for an ordinance to build the temple.
“Day, months, years and generations have passed,” he said. “Mandir wahin baneyenge, par date nahin batayenge (You say you will make the temple there, but won’t tell the date). First say when will you construct the temple, the rest we will talk later,” PTI quoted him as saying.
Attacking his ally in Maharashtra and at the centre, Thackeray said he is here to “wake up Kumbhkaran who has been asleep for four years.” The Sena is part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) but has had strained ties with the BJP.
Ayodhya: Scenes from Lakshman Quila maidan where Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will seek the blessings of saints and address a rally. pic.twitter.com/BfyUQVhCR9
The Sena has reiterated its demand that an ordinance be brought before 2019 for constructing the temple. In an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the party claimed that the sentiment among Hindus, now, was “first temple and then government”.
Ahead of Thackeray’s visit today, Section 144, restricting the assembly of more than four people, was imposed in Ayodhya as a precautionary measure.
Earlier this week, Uddhav had said his trip to Ayodhya was to “remind BJP” of its poll promise. “Many are questioning why we (Shiv Sena) remembered Ram now, when the elections are nearing. Why should I hide it? I have taken up this issue because of the elections only. I am going to Ayodhya to remind the BJP about the promise,” he said.
He coined a new slogan, “Har Hindu ki yahi pukar, pehle mandir fir sarkar” (This is every Hindu’s call — first comes the temple and then government).
Sena MP Sanjay Raut Wednesday assured Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that Uddhav’s visit will be peaceful and there will be no law and order problems from the sainiks. A team of senior Sena leaders, including cabinet ministers, have already reached the venue to oversee preparations.
Raut said, “The Sena leader will interact with the religious heads (sadhus). The purpose of the visit is to urge the government to build the Ram temple.” The party wants the government to bring in a legislation to facilitate the process of construction of the temple. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)has planned a public rally at Ayodhya Saturday.
The minister also said that the party has no issue if VHP or RSS takes lead in the Ram Temple case. “Sena has no problems if VHP or RSS takes lead in the Ram temple issue. We will lend our support. But nobody should forget the role of late Bal Thackeray who supported the BJP government after the Babri Masjid demolition and gave momentum to the Ram temple issue,” Raut added.
On Friday, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant said his party is pushing for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya because it was promised by the BJP ahead of elections. “We have promised to the people of the country that once we come to power Ram mandir will be constructed at Ayodhya. We are forgetting that promise. Therefore, Uddhav ji has taken this initiative,” he said.
The Opposition had criticised Uddav’s plan to visit Ayodhya, calling it “stunts” ahead of the elections. Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan had alleged that Uddhav’s visit is politically motivated and meant to polarise votes.