New Ram statue will be Ayodhya’s ‘identity’, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath announces on Diwali
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said on Tuesday a “grand statue” of Lord Ram will soon come up in Ayodhya, a day after announcing a flurry of projects for the temple town associated with the planned Ram Temple at the disputed site.
“Ayodhya’s identity is associated with Maryada Purshottam Bhagwan Shri Ram. There will be a statue for worshipping inside the temple but the other one will establish the town’s identity,” Adityanath said while speaking to reporters in Faizabad on Diwali, the festival of lights.
“We will work on everything that will honour the faith as well as establish Ayodhya’s identity. We are working towards giving the final touches to it,” the chief minister, who on Tuesday associated the temple town with honour, pride and prestige, said.
The government, he said, is working on the survey and various architects have suggested their designs for the statue. “We will keep working on it accordingly and proceed on it at the right moment.”
The chief minister, however, did not comment on the proposed statue’s size.
Adityanath had announced on the eve of Diwali that Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad district will now be known as Ayodhya. The district comprises the twin towns of Faizabad and Ayodhya, which the Hindus revere as Lord Ram’s birthplace.
He also announced a medical college named after King Dashrath, Ram’s father, will be built along with an airport named after Ram.
The chief minister brought the focus back on the Ram Temple once again as he said there will be a positive solution to the issue soon as “there was a temple, there is one and it will continue to remain here” and that there was no doubt about it.
“People have demanded a grand structure at the place where Ram Lalla is. The government is also trying to give the same form to the place. And I think there will be a positive solution to the issue very soon,” he said while replying to a query.
“I have said there are many options available to us. We have faith in India’s constitutional system and we will find a solution to the issue within that system,” he said.
Adding to his Tuesday’s promises, Adityanath said a home for widows and orphaned children in the name of Lord Ram’s mother Kaushalya will be built in the town. He also announced the construction of a dam on River Saryu on the line of Hari ki Pauri in Haridwar for the availability of water around the year.
He assured that the land acquisition for the proposed Raja Ram Airport in Ayodhya will start soon.
“In coming days Ayodhya will be counted as one of best cities of the world … Ayodhya’s development is our priority list,” the chief minister said.
The chief minister, who had promised “good news” to devotees of Lord Ram ahead of Diwali, offered prayers at Hanuman Garhi temple in the temple town and visited the makeshift temple at the disputed site earlier in the day.
Leaders of Adityanath’s Bharatiya Janata Party had hyped up the chief minister’s Diwali-eve speech at Ayodhya over the last few days. As he had spoken about his visit and asked people to expect some good news, BJP functionaries had pointed to a long-standing plan to build a huge statue of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.
Mahant Satyendra Das, the head priest of the makeshift temple at the disputed site, however, had frowned at the plan, stressing that Lord Ram’s place was “in a temple and not in the open”.
The dispute – among India’s most sensitive and divisive political issue - has slowly returned to the political centre stage over the past few months. Last month, the Supreme Court turned down the UP government’s request to expedite hearing the land title dispute case.
Hindus believe the 16th-century mosque, Babri Masjid, was built over a temple dedicated to Hindu god Ram, whose birthplace is also considered to be at the site. The mosque was demolished by a mob of thousands in 1992, triggering a cycle of violence and riots across India.