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Delay in bringing ordinance for Ram temple construction indicates BJP not interested: Sanjay Raut

By PTI
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New Delhi, Nov 18: Pressing for an ordinance to facilitate the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, NDA constituent Shiv Sena has said the delay in exercising the option is an indication that the ruling BJP at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh was not keen on building it.

Sanjay Raut

Senior Shiv Sena leader and party MP Sanjay Raut said if the NDA government can bring an ordinance on banning instant triple talaq then why not take the same route to remove hurdles for the construction of the Ram temple, which is a "matter of pride" for the nation.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which helped the BJP come to power in 2014, should pull down the NDA government if it fails to bring an ordinance for construction of the temple, he said. Raut's remarks comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's visit to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh on November 25, during which the party is likely to declare its next course of action on the issue.

"We never use the issue of Ram Mandir for elections. But those who wish to do it, we feel they don't want the Ram Mandir," Raut told PTI in an interview. “If you want the Ram Mandir then legislate a law,” he said. Raut, who is also executive editor of the Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Dainik Saamana', claimed that when the BJP came to power for the first time in the 1990s, it cited a lack of absolute majority in Parliament and power in Uttar Pradesh for not coming up with a legislation for the construction of Ram Temple. Today, BJP has absolute majority at the Centre as well as in Uttar Pradesh, but it has "failed" to resolve the long-pending issue, he said. "If you can bring an amendment to the triple talaq bill and the SC and ST Act, then why not on Ram Mandir. If this is the will and demand of the people and you have seized power because of the same issue will then you have to accept it," the Sena MP said.

Though the Shiv Sena and the BJP are in alliance, both at the Centre and in Maharastra, there has been an increasing bitterness in their ties. Last month, the Supreme Court fixed the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for the first week of January before an "appropriate bench", which will decide the schedule of hearing. There has been a growing demand to bring an ordinance so that hurdles relating to the dispute can be sorted out at the earliest.

Raut asserted that the issue is unlikely to be resolved by the court and an ordinance is the only solution to construct the temple. He said if the government brings the ordinance then over 100 non-BJP MPs in the Lok Sabha and many in the Rajya Sabha, cutting across the party lines, would back the legislation.

Raut, whose party has been a vociferous supporter of the construction of the Ram temple, said 2019 should be deadline for resolving the issue. "After that neither Ram Mandir nor Babri should not be on the agenda of any political party and election issue. We don't want any credit. You take the credit, but build the Ram temple," the Sena leader said.

The Shiv Sena in the past has openly admitted its role in the demolition of the Babri mosque in December 1992. Following the demolition and the subsequent riots in Mumbai, the party, along with the BJP, seized power in Maharashtra in 1996. "If we could not lay a brick for the temple in last 25 years then what temple are we going to build," Raut said. For construction of the Ram temple, he said the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the RSS, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, should sit together and declare their position on the issue.

PTI

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