Uma Bharti says Rahul Gandhi can lay foundation stone of Ram temple in Ayodhya with her to 'atone for sins' of Congress
Uma Bharti Hindus were the 'most tolerant' people in the world, but talk of constructing a mosque near a Ram temple in Ayodhya could make them 'intolerant'.
New Delhi: Union minister Uma Bharti on Sunday said while Hindus were the "most tolerant" people in the world, any talk of constructing a mosque on the periphery of a Ram temple in Ayodhya could make them "intolerant".
The minister also invited Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to lay the foundation stone of the temple in Ayodhya with her, saying he would "atone for the sins" of his party by doing so.
"Hindus are the most tolerant community in the world. I will appeal to all politicians: please don't make Hindus intolerant by talking about building a mosque on the outer periphery of the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya," Bharti told PTI in an interview.
She said when there could not be a temple in the holy town of Medina or a mosque in the Vatican City, it would be "unfair" to talk about a mosque in Ayodhya.
Describing the Ayodhya dispute as one of land and not faith, the firebrand Hindu leader said, "This is now only a matter of dispute of land, not dispute of faith. It has been resolved that Ayodhya is the birth place of Lord Ram."
She also stressed the need for an out-of-court settlement of the contentious issue, and urged all political leaders — including Gandhi, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, BSP leader Mayawati and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee — to support this.
"We need support of all political parties on this issue. I invite all leaders including, Rahul Gandhiji, come let's lay the foundation stone of the Ram temple with me," Bharti said.
By doing so, the Gandhi-scion could atone for the past sins of the Congress, which always created "hurdles" in building the temple in Ayodhya, she said.
SP supremo Mulayam Singh, Banerjee, Mayawati and the Left parties should support the BJP on this issue as it is of national interest, she said.
"But they aren't letting the matter get resolved. The Congress will have to quit the habit of dividing the country in the name of religion," Bharti said, reiterating that all political parties should unite on this issue.
Bharti, who had participated in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement of the 1990s, said she was fully committed to the construction of Ram temple. "If they tell me that Ram Mandir will be built only over my dead body, then so be it," she said.
Bharti, known as a firebrand Hindu leader of the party, has in past also pitched for early construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply
Tamil Nadu Assembly polls: State should oust K Palaniswami govt and 'keep out BJP', says Rahul Gandhi
The Congress leader, who was on a three-day tour of Tamil Nadu, participated in multiple events in Kanyakumari district ahead of the 6 April Assembly polls
Congress respects electors irrespective of location, says Kapil Sibal as Rahul Gandhi's north-south remark sparks row
Sibal slammed the BJP for accusing the Congress of creating a divide, saying the charge was not only 'ludicrous and laughable' but also 'mischievous'
The north-south divide inadvertently flares up before every election, especially in southern Indian states. This time it has come before the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and the UT of Puducherry