Rajnath raises Ram temple issue
BJP’s prime-ministerial candidate LK Advani might not want the Ram temple issue to be in his campaign — lest it scares away the NDA allies — but party chief Rajnath Singh made it clear the issue could not be dropped from the agenda. Shekhar Iyer reports.Updated: Feb 08, 2009, 12:14 IST
BJP’s prime-ministerial candidate L.K. Advani might not want the Ram temple issue to be in his campaign — lest it scares away the NDA allies — but party chief Rajnath Singh made it clear the issue could not be dropped from the agenda.
“It is our nishtha (vow) and aastha (aspiration) to build a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, and there is no mai ka lal (person on earth) who can come in the way,” Singh said at the party’s two-day national council meeting that began on Saturday. “No one can shake the BJP’s faith and reverence for Lord Ram. We are looking for an opportunity to build a temple.”
Singh said if the party came to power it would work towards an effective solution of the issue and could even set up a fast-track court and take other measures after taking the allies into confidence. “The day the BJP will get a clear majority, we will, if necessary, bring a law on the issue,” Singh said.
Rajnath’s statement drew chants of “Jai Shri Ram” from several party workers.
Arun Jaitley, BJP general secretary, played down Singh’s statement on the Ayodhya issue later. “There is nothing new in his remark,” he said. “We always reiterate our position at a gathering like this and the party chief was delivering his address.”
Advani had recently, through his Urdu website, appealed to Muslims not to hold the demolition of the Babri Masjid against him since he was not aware how it happened.
Singh lamented that during the past five years, the Congress-led coalition at the Centre had failed to spare “even five minutes” for initiating a dialogue to resolve the Ram Janambhoomi issue. “On the contrary, in the affidavit filed by the government on the issue of Sri Ram Setu, the government denied the very existence of Bhagwan Ram, something not even foreign rulers had dared to do,” he said.
The BJP chief, who noted that the media got excited every time he took the name of Ram, said: “The kind of contempt that has been displayed towards our cultural symbols during the tenure of this government has perhaps never taken place in our history."