'Only a Congress PM can build Ram Mandir in Ayodhya': CP Joshi's remark an about-turn from party's carefully held position

Congress leader CP Joshi caused controversy on Wednesday when he claimed that if any government could deliver on the promise of building a Ram temple in Ayodhya, it would be under a Congress prime minister. Joshi, invoking a controversial chapter from Congress' past, said, "It was Rajiv Gandhi who opened the lock of the Babri Masjid premise and allowed religious rites inside the disputed structure. Only a Congress prime minister can get the temple built."

 Only a Congress PM can build Ram Mandir in Ayodhya: CP Joshis remark an about-turn from partys carefully held position

Joining the Ram temple bandwagon. AFP

That statement seems to be an about-turn from the party's carefully held position—at least in recent times—that it welcomes a Supreme Court verdict on the issue. In early November, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said no Hindu text condones the use of violence to get one's way and scriptures say people should build Ram in their hearts. "In fact, if anything, there is a scripture that says build Ram in your heart. And if Ram is built in our heart it should little matter where else he is or he is not, because he is everywhere," Tharoor said in an exclusive interview to PTI. The Congress MP was responding to a question about his recent remark that no good Hindu would want a temple at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

In October, senior Congress leader Sanjay Sinh said his party never opposed the Ram temple and wanted an 'amicable solution' to the issue, according to a report in The Times of India. However, a little over a decade ago, the Congress sang a different tune during a controversy over the Sethusamudram project, when it told the Supreme Court Valmiki's tale lacked 'historical veracity'and that there was no historical evidence to establish the existence of Lord Rama or the other characters in Ramayana.

ASI in its affidavit filed through ASI Director (monuments) C Dorjee stated, "The petitioners while seeking relief have primarily relied upon the contents of the Valmiki Ramayana, the Ram Charit Manas by Tulsidas and mythological texts, which formed an important part of ancient Indian literature, but which cannot be said to be historical records to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters or the occurrence of the event, depicted therein."

Interestingly, in 1993, only a month after the Babri Masjid was brought down by kar sevaks, the then Congress government brought an ordinance for a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, which was opposed by the BJP. The Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Ordinance was promulgated by then president Shankar Dayal Sharma on 7 January, 1993. Later, a bill was introduced in Parliament by then Union home minister SB Chavan.  The BJP stridently opposed the ordinance and the Act, with then BJP vice-president SS Bhandari called it "partisan, petty and perverse". The times, they have changed.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 22, 2018 13:45:42 IST