The BJP Monday accused the Congress of using its leaders to build a momentum against the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, asserting that “the temple will be built at the Ram’s birthplace”.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi and its leader Shashi Tharoor for his reported comments that no good Hindu would have wanted to see the temple built by demolishing a place of worship, a reference to razing down of the Babri mosque in December 1992.
“Ram is the ethos of the nation. People want and have fought for a Ram temple for 500 years after it was destroyed. What Shashi Tharoor is saying must be the view of Rahul Gandhi and his that they do not want the temple at the Ram’s birthplace,” he told to a news agency.
He said it was astonishing and shocking to hear from Tharoor that a “real Hindu” would not wish temple at the Babri mosque site.
“Ram temple will be built only at Ram’s birthplace. It is so natural. It was Ram temple which was destroyed and all proofs are before the Supreme Court. BJP wants a magnificent temple at the site,” he said.
The BJP, he added, has already said that it has to happen either through a court verdict, which it is sure will be favourable, or with an agreement between the two parties.
The whole nation wants the Ram temple as it is not about the BJP or something political, he said.
From north-east to north to south to east and west, everywhere you find Ram as Ram is the ethos of the nation, he said.
Earlier at a press conference on Monday, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao too accused the Congress of using its leaders to build a momentum against the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and wondered if Gandhi is a Hindu or not.
He said his party wants an early verdict from the Supreme Court on the Ram temple case but the Congress is trying everything to delay it.
Congress leaders had earlier filed plea in the court to delay the matter, he alleged, adding that Tharoor is the latest to join the bandwagon by linking construction of a temple with the “demolition of disputed structure” that happened decades back.
“You (Congress) are conspiring to ensure that there is no verdict from the court,” he said.
The Congress is doing “vote bank politics”, he said, alleging that Gandhi had earlier claimed that his party was a “Muslims party”.
Rahul Gandhi wears his “Shiv bhakti” (devotion to Lord Shiv) on his sleeve but he should answer whether he is a Hindu or not, Rao said.
Speaking at an event in Chennai, Tharoor had said as a Hindu he was very conscious that a vast majority of his fellow Hindus believe that this (the site in Ayodhya) was the specific birth place of Lord Ram.
“And for that reason most good Hindus would want to see a Ram temple at the site where Ram was supposed to be born. But I also believe that no good Hindu would have wanted to see that temple built by demolishing somebody else’s place of worship,” the Kerala MP said.
At the press conference, Rao also accused the Congress of following a double-pronged strategy of showing its love for Pakistan and and “working to break India” as part of Gandhi’s “divisive mindset”.
He cited Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s reported comments that he can relate to Pakistan more than south India to hit out at the opposition party.
He demanded that Sidhu must be sacked as a minister in the Punjab government in a week or the BJP would carry out protests.
Sidhu’s remarks are also a reflection on the opposition party’s and its ruling Gandhi family’s “hatred for south India”, Rao alleged as he cited its “ill-treatment” of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.
It was due to support from south India that the Congress came to power, he said in a reference to its win in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, claiming that “otherwise Sonia and Rahul Gandhi would have fled to Italy”.
The Congress president should apologise for the alleged poor treatment meted out to Narasimha Rao, he said.
“If you have any shame, at least use his (Narasimha Rao’s) picture in Telangana,” he said.
Telangana is among the five states where assembly elections are being held.