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Amit Shah dares Rahul to take stand on Ram Temple

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Dehradun, Feb 2: BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday sounded the poll bugle in Uttarakhand and dared Congress president Rahul Gandhi to take a clear stand on the Ram Temple issue.

Shah said a Ram temple should be built in Ayodhya at the earliest and dared the Congress to spell out its own stand on the issue.

File photo of BJP president Amit Shah

"The Kumbh fair is on and it is only natural that the demand for a Ram temple is being raised," he said at a meeting of the party's booth-level workers here, virtually launching the BJP's campaign in Uttarakhand for the Lok Sabha polls.

"The BJP's stand has always been clear on the issue and I want to declare today that the Ram Temple in Ayodhya should be built at the earliest. Will Rahul Gandhi too define his stand on the issue?"

['Congress's OROP is Only Rahul Only Priyanka': Amit Shah]

Shah said to loud cheers of Jai Shri Ram. At the Parade Ground meeting, the Bharatiya Janata Party chief also hit out at opposition attempts to forge a mahagathbandhan', or a grand alliance, for the parliamentary elections just months away. He accused the Congress of putting up obstacles to the temple's construction through "its lawyers" in the Supreme Court.

Shah was referring to a plea in 2017 by Kapil Sibal, who was representing the Sunni Waqf Board, to postpone hearings in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute till the Lok Sabha elections are over.

"The Congress should come forward and explain why it had sought deferment of the hearing in the country's oldest title suit," Shah said.

The Supreme Court had turned down the plea. Shah contrasted this with the recent petition by the BJP government in the Supreme Court, seeking to return the land around the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site to its original owners. His remarks follow increasing demands on the BJP-led government from Hindutva organisations, and seers who held meetings at the Kumbh Mela recently, to ensure an early construction of the temple.

Shah called the 'mahagathbandhan' a desperate coming together of political forces opposed to each other as they cannot think of taking on Modi alone.

"The bua-bhatija (aunt and nephew) have come together in UP. Do you think they will stay together,'' he said, referring to the alliance between the Bahujan Samaj Party's Mayawati and the Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh.

"Who is going to listen to a Chandrababu Naidu at a public meeting in Haldwani or a Deve Gowda in Dehradun? They are leaders of regional parties with a limited appeal," the BJP leader said.

['Gathbandhan will have a new PM every day,' says Amit Shah in Kanpur]

"Their only aim is Modi Hatao' (Remove Modi) whereas Modi wants to remove poverty, corruption and disease," he said. He said casteism and dynastic politics had no future in the country and urged people to bring back Modi with a clear mandate if they wanted a government capable of delivering on its promises. He asked them to ensure that the party wins all the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand, as it did in 2014.

"Uttarakhand is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's priority," he said and referred to the makeover of Kedarnath after the 2013 floods.

He praised the interim Budget presented Friday, saying it took care of all sections of society, particularly farmers, women, the poor and the marginalised. Highlighting the Budget provisions for the farmers, he mocked the Congress.

"Do you understand the difference between Rabi and Kharif? Do you know the problems of the farmers? Have you really connected with them ever?" he said, without naming anyone.

Shah credited the Modi government with implementing the One Rank One Pension scheme for military veterans, saying successive Congress governments had failed to achieve this. He said the booth-level workers are the party's real strength and they alone can steer it to a thumping victory. Shah said coming to address their meeting reminded him of his initial days in the party.

"This is possible only in a party like BJP which is governed by democratic principles. A small party worker like me who pasted party posters on poles and pillars rose to become its president and a tea seller's son the country's prime minister," he said.

OneIndia News with PTI inputs

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