Mumbai: The Shiv Sena took a swipe Thursday at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It said that the announcement of a trust to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya was aimed at laying the ‘foundation’ for the upcoming Delhi Assembly polls and it will be completed during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
It was expected that the Ram temple issue will not be politicised, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Wednesday in the Lok Sabha the formation of a 15-member autonomous trust to construct the temple at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
“Modi gave the slogan of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ just four days ahead of polling for the Delhi Assembly. Will be happy if (the number) goes up by two-four seats with the help of Shri Ram,” the Shiv Sena said.
“It was expected that the issue of Ram temple will not be politicised, but its ‘foundation’ was laid for the Delhi Assembly (election) and will be completed on the occasion of 2024 Lok Sabha (polls),” the editorial added cryptically.
It is expected that a ‘Ram Rajya’ (welfare state) will be realised in a true sense in the country by then. There is criticism that the BJP ‘brought in’ Lord Ram as Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal has caused restlessness in the saffron party ahead of the Delhi Assembly polls, the Marathi daily further stated.
“This (criticism) is because the prime minister announced formation of the temple trust four days ahead of polling. It is important that the prime minister made the announcement in the Lok Sabha,” it said.
The Shiv Sena said the Supreme Court will have to be thanked first for the prime minister’s announcement about the trust, as the apex court had ordered construction of the temple in November last year. It also thanked Modi for discharging his duty as the prime minister in the light of the Supreme Court order.
The Shiv Sena, which had long campaigned for the temple construction, said how autonomous the trust is going to be will be known only after the appointment of its members (the names have been announced, Wednesday). It said the trust should have representation of all the organisations which campaigned for the temple construction, if it is an ‘autonomous body’.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party said it was active in the campaign for temple construction from day one and not just the BJP as have been proclaimed by some.
“The BJP itself had then admitted that the Shiv Sainiks landed hammers on the Babri (mosque) and the (then) Shiv Sena chief (late Bal Thackeray) said he was proud of the Shiv Sainiks who brought down the Babri,” the editorial pointed out.
“Hundreds of Shiv Sainiks ‘laid their lives’ in the violence after the Babri mosque demolition. Those who gave the slogan of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ should keep this in mind,” it said.
Recalling L K Advani’s role in the campaign, the Shiv Sena said the BJP would not have attained the current position in India’s politics had the veteran leader not taken out a ‘rath yatra’ in the name of Shri Ram (in 1990).