New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party leader and the party's Uttar Pradesh in-charge Amit Shah has sparked a controversy by raising the Ram temple issue during his visit to Ayodhya on Saturday. Shah said that the BJP will build a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya very soon.
The BJP leader is now facing criticism from other political parties. Samajwadi Party leader Kamal Farooqi said, "They should stop fooling people, the matter is before the SC. The BJP remembers Ram temple only at the time of elections."
The Congress accused Shah of raising tensions. "The BJP is creating tensions over the issue. However the people of India won't fall for this ploy," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said."
BJP's friend-turned foe Janata Dal United has also hit out at Amit Shah for raising the Ram temple issue. "Ram Mandir should be built either in accordance with the court order or after mutual talks between the two communities. Who cares about what Amit Shah is saying," JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said.
Shah, who went to Ayodhya to attend a party meeting, said, "Before the meet, I came to seek Lord Ram's blessings. I've prayed for the country to be free of Congress. We will build the Ram temple and restore Lord Ram to his rightful place."
This comment assumes importance as Shah is not only raising the Ayodhya temple issue, but also clearly reiterating the party's promise to build a temple at the disputed and demolished Babri Masjid site. Though BJP has described Faizabad meeting as a 'routine thing', sources said that the idea is to invoke the Hindutva ideology within the party ranks ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The move to raise the Ayodhya issue also holds importance as there are speculations that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will contest 2014 elections from Uttar Pradesh. This is seen as a move to revive BJP's fortunes in Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats.