Looting devotion of countless people: Priyanka Gandhi on Ayodhya ‘land scam’

Published on Dec 23, 2021 01:48 PM IST

“Almost every household in the country has donated something to Ram Mandir Trust,” said Priyanka Gandhi while addressing reporters on Thursday. “A door-to-door campaign was held too. It is a matter of devotion and that is being toyed with.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (Photo via press conference)
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (Photo via press conference)
Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday lashed out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and government officials after reports emerged of them allegedly “usurping” land near the upcoming Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Conducting a press conference, the Congress general secretary said that an impartial inquiry needs to be conducted into the allegations and if proven true, it would mean that the state's ruling party has been “looting” and “toying with” the devotions of countless people in the country who donated something or the other for the Ram Mandir Trust.

“Almost every household in the country has donated something to Ram Mandir Trust,” said Priyanka Gandhi while addressing reporters in New Delhi. “A door-to-door campaign was held too. It is a matter of devotion and that is being toyed with. The pieces of land of Dalits, which could not have been purchased, were grabbed.”

She alleged that there were a few pieces of land that were of a much lower value than what they were sold to the trust at.

“It means that there exists a scam regarding the money which was collected through the donation,” Gandhi claimed.

Taking note of the fact that the Uttar Pradesh government has ordered a probe into the ‘land grab’ reports, the Congress leader said that the Yogi Adityanath administration cannot be conducting the inquiry since the interests of BJP functionaries and senior government officials are allegedly involved.

“Yes, the UP government is appointing an inquiry commission to probe the allegations, who will be the ones conducting the investigation? These are officials at the district collector-level,” Gandhi said, demanding instead an “unbiased” inquiry headed by the Supreme Court.

“The temple is being built on the orders of the Supreme Court; so it is only natural that the inquiry, too, should be conducted at the level of the top court,” said the Congress leader.

Notably, a news report has claimed that MLAs, mayors, relatives of the commissioner, SDM and DIG bought land in Ayodhya after the Supreme Court announced the verdict in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, clearing the way for construction of the Ram temple.

Soon after the report came out, the Uttar Pradesh additional chief secretary (information), Navneet Sehgal, told the PTI news agency on Wednesday that “chief minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered the revenue department to probe the matter thoroughly”.

Congress leaders have been attacking the government on the matter, with Rahul Gandhi charging that “Hindutva robs under the guise of religion”.

Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala termed it a “land scam”, charging there is an “open loot of land inside Ayodhya city by people connected to the BJP”.

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