'Can't wait forever for SC decision on Ram Temple': From VHP, RSS, Uma Bharati to Subramanian Swamy, what right-wingers are demanding from BJP
Earlier in October, the VHP had set the Modi government a final 'deadline' to ensure the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya by end of 2018.
The clamour for taking the ordinance route to construct a Ram temple in Ayodhya grew after Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke a long silence on the issue, stating that his government would like to see the temple being built 'within constitutional limits.' The loudest voices condemning the prime minister's advice to wait for the Supreme Court's verdict is from among his own allies and former supporters.
More recently, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) strongly supported the need for an ordinance to build a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. The right-wing organisation, which has criticised the Modi government in the past for not following through on the electoral promise of building the Ram temple, on Wednesday took a hard stance against the BJP. It said that the government must bring a substantive Bill in the Parliament instead of waiting for the Supreme Court's order on the issue. The organisation, an extreme wing of the larger Sangh Privar, has been relentlessly pursuing the construction of a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya and had also campaigned for the BJP in the hope that a 'saffron' government will ensure its demands are met.
"We have not been successful in ensuring that the government brings a Bill for Ram Temple so far, but the campaign will continue," VHP president Alok Kumar said. He said that separate private member Bills are not the solution for the problem, "we demand that the government bring in a substantive bill on Ram temple."
"VHP cannot wait forever for court's verdict on Ram temple issue. We demand Parliament to legislate on the issue at the earliest and a decision on council's following course of action will be taken in Dharm Sansad during Kumbh," Kumar said.
Earlier in October, the VHP had set the Modi government a final 'deadline' to ensure the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya. "This is the final battle for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. The government should bring an ordinance for the construction of the temple and this should be done by the end of this year... If that does not happen, then all the options are open before us. The future course of action will be decided during the two-day 'Dharam Sansad' to be held next year on the sidelines of the Maha Kumbh in Allahabad," Kumar had told PTI in October.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the parent organisation of both BJP and VHP, too expressed its displeasure with Modi's statement on the issue. The right-wing organisation, which is often credited for the BJP's political rise in North India, subtly reminded the party that the people may not pardon it for the delay in construction of temple as it was one of the key agendas on which the BJP campaigned in 2014.
"Under the leadership of Modi, the BJP in its 2014 election manifesto had promised to make all possible efforts within the ambit of the Constitution to build the Ram temple. People of India gave the BJP a majority, trusting their promise," the RSS tweeted. People of India expect the government to fulfill the promise within its tenure, it added.
The RSS, however, said that the prime minister's statement was overall a positive sign. "We feel that the statement by Prime Minister is a positive step in the direction of Temple Construction. The Prime Minister reiterating the resolve to construct a grand Sri Ram Temple in Ayodhya in his interview is in tune with the resolution passed by BJP at Palampur in 1989."
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Ram temple case on 4 January, even as Hindutva organisations, including the RSS and its affiliates, as also the BJP ally Shiv Sena, have been pitching for an ordinance to pave the way for an early construction.
Sounds of discord also emerged from within the BJP as Union minister Uma Bharti said people would be "surprised" and "shocked" if no solution was found to the Ram temple issue, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath being at the helm at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh respectively. "When Modi ji is the prime minister and Yogi ji is the chief minister (of UP), and even then if no way is found for the construction of the Ram temple, then the masses will be surprised as to why were we unable to find a way for (building) the Ram temple. It will be a shock to the people," she said.
Like RSS, Bharti to reminded her party that the temple had a "major role" in the BJP rising from just two Lok Sabha seats (in 1984) to 84 seats — when the temple movement gained momentum in 1989 — to 284 seats in the 2014 general polls.
"Therefore, with Modi as the prime minister and Yogi (as the UP chief minister), people have high hopes that a way should be found for the construction of the Ram temple," the Union minister of drinking water and sanitation said. "Even today I will say this, whether it is an Act or an Ordinance, you have to find an amicable way for the Ram temple. You cannot just do it by bringing an Act for everything. Especially, when there is a lot of opposition in the society," Bharti opined.
BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy also threw his weight behind the VHP's demand stating that he will ask Prime Minister Modi to hand over the disputed site to right-wing groups like VHP to ensure construction of temple. "I am asking the PM to handover the land to some Hindu organisation like the VHP and also ask them to go ahead and build the Ram temple," Swamy told CNN-News18.
Swamy also argued that the government wasn't bound to weight for the Supreme Court ruling on the issue. "The 2014 Manifesto only stated that we will build Ram Mandir by legal means, not necessarily via the court. PV Narasimha Rao's 1994 statement presented to SC by his solicitor general gives Namo a right to start Ram Mandir construction tonight without Supreme Court's OK," Swamy tweeted.
Party's ally and also one of the strongest critic Shiv Sena too has been shoring up attack on the Ram temple issue as the rift between the two alliance partners widen.
"The Supreme Court has said (hearing on the) Ram Mandir is not an urgent matter. Modi also did not say anything different. I congratulate him for making his position clear on the matter.
"...(The prime minister says) Will not bring an ordinance for the Ram temple. The constitutional meaning of this is that Lord Ram is not bigger than the law," Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said.
Earlier, addressing a rally in Pandharpur in Maharashtra's Solapur district last month, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had asked BJP allies to clear their stand on the Ram temple issue.
"I want to tell BJP one thing, we can forgive you on 'ache din' jumla and the promise of Rs 15 lakh to each person. But we will not forgive you if you come up with one more jumla on our faith or in the name of god. We will beat you up. We will not allow you to make any more false promises in the name of Ram or any other Hindu god," Thackeray had said. In November, he had visited Ayodhya and demanded an ordinance to resolve the issue.
With inputs from agencies
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