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Build Ram temple or face voters’ anger in 2019 polls, Hindu leader warns Modi govt

Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, president of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, declared this at the VHP-organised Saurya Sammelan to mark the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.

lucknow Updated: Dec 06, 2017 23:34 IST
Pawan Dixit
Pawan Dixit
Hindustan Times, Ayodhya
Ram temple,Babri Masjid,Ayodhya
Bricks and stones meant for constructing the Ram temple piled up at the site of the erstwhile Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. (File photo)

An influential Hindu religious leader warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday that the Bharatiya Janata Party will bear the brunt of public anger in the next Lok Sabha polls if there was any delay in constructing the Ram temple at Ayodhya.

Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, president of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, declared this before a gathering of saints at Kar Sevak Puram in Ayodhya. They had assembled there to attend the Saurya Sammelan, organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to mark the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.

Nritya Gopal Das is the most revered head priest in Ayodhya, and his Mani Ram Das Chawni Peeth spearheads the temple movement.

“We currently have friendly governments both at the Centre and the state. This is the right time to construct a grand temple in Ayodhya,” he said to a thunderous applause. “If the temple is not constructed now, it will never come up.”

The septuagenarian then proceeded to warn the Modi government against stalling on the sensitive issue. “If there is delay in building the Ram temple at Ayodhya, the Modi government will have to face the consequences in the 2019 elections. Voters will not spare his party,” Das thundered, even as the crowd responded with chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Mandir wahi banaayenge (We will build the temple there)’.

The head priest also urged the apex court to take the people’s voice into consideration before delivering its verdict on the Ram Janmabhooomi-Babri Masjid dispute.

Ayodhya Sant Samaj president Mahant Kanhaiya Das, who addressed the gathering earlier, rejected any possibility of negotiating with the Muslim community on constructing the Ram temple at the controversial site. “Only a Ram Mandir will come up in Ayodhya, and nothing else. The Babri Masjid will not be allowed to come up anywhere else in the country either,” he said.

Kanhaiya Das accused the Congress of trying to delay the verdict in the case. “It is at the behest of the Congress that Kapil Sibal asked the Supreme Court to defer the hearing until the 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” he said. “Rahul Gandhi is going from one temple to another in Gujarat, but in the Supreme Court, Kapil Sibal wants to defer the hearing. The Congress does not want a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.”

The religious leader thanked the apex court for deciding to launch daily hearings into the case from February 8.

Ambrish Singh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand head, also ruled out negotiating with their Muslim counterparts on the temple dispute. “The Centre must enact a law in Parliament to pave the way for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. The entire land (at the disputed site) must be handed over to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas for building it,” he said.

Karsevak Puram was the epicentre of the Ram temple movement in the 1990s.

First Published: Dec 06, 2017 20:34 IST