BJP Rajya Sabha member Vinay Katiyar’s effort to rekindle hopes of a Ram temple at a rally in Ayodhya on Thursday was met with sober claps from spectators and near silence from Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the dais.
“Winning Uttar Pradesh is very important for the BJP. If we get a good majority in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP will get majority in the Rajya Sabha. If the party has the majority in the Rajya Sabha, the temple will be built,” Katiyar said.
He added that any development work would be incomplete without the construction of Ram Mandir. “We have to build temple here. It is important for the unity and integrity of this country.”
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Katiyar said the country should have a uniform civil code and “triple talaq is an injustice to Muslim women” and has to be “banned”. “In fact, there has to be a law on single marriage. Otherwise, in three-four marriages, there would be three-four children each and the family size becomes 20-25.” Katiyar said.
Daya Prasad, who has a shop in Hanuman Garhi in Ayodhya, did not seem impressed with Katiyar’s speech. “The temple has become a word for leaders to use during elections. It has become just an election issue.”
Another shopkeeper, who gave his name only as Umesh, said: “It is true that Modiji is doing well. But we want temple and there is no sign of temple other than in speeches.”
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Rajnath, who addressed the rally after Katiyar, did not mention the temple, nor did he speak on triple talaq. The minister’s reference to Lord Ram was confined to the context of Ayodhya’s development. “Ayodhya has not seen the development that it should have. Fifteen years have been wasted. We promise that if the BJP comes to power, this land of Lord Ram will see development. It will be a centre of international attraction,” he said, adding that millions of pilgrims visit the town every year.
Singh spoke at length on how the BJP-led Centre deals with Pakistan. “Today India is not a weak nation, it has become a strong country before the international community,” he said, while speaking about the surgical strikes. When his reference to the military operation received loud applause, he added: “India was never expansionist, nor did we attack anyone…. Bharat ek aisa desh hein jo kisi ko chedta nahin hai. Lekin jo Bharat ko chedta hai, usey Bharat chodta nahin hai (India is a country that does not needle any other. But India does not let go of anyone challenging it).”
He ridiculed Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav for his slogan “kaam bolta hai”, which translates to performance speaks for itself. “Kaam bolta nahin hai, dikhta hai (Performance does not speak, but it shows),” Singh countered.