Allahabad: From a VHP platform, BJP chief Rajnath Singh on Wednesday raked up the Ayodhya issue saying his party is committed to the construction of the Ram temple. The new BJP president made the declaration moments after former VHP chief Ashok Singhal bragged about the demolition of Babri masjid in the early 1990s during the campaign for construction of Ram temple.
"BJP is a party which believes in Hindu values. The party is committed to the construction of Ram temple at Ram Janamboomi in Ayodhya. It is a cherished desire of millions of Hindus and the BJP would certainly like to do its bit in fulfilling the same," Singh said.
He was participating in a meeting of the VHP's central advisory committee here in presence of its top leaders like Singhal and Pravin Togadia and party colleagues Yogi Adityanath and Laxmikant Vajpayee. "I am a firm believer in Hindu ideals and love to take part in functions like these. It is my request that no political meaning be attached to my visit."
The VHP has demanded that a bill be introduced so that Ram Janambhoomi land could be handed over to the Shri Ram Janambhoomi Nyas.
To a query on whether projecting Narendra Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate came up during his meeting the Sangh Parivar leaders, Singh quipped, "A decision on this matter can be taken only by the party parliamentary board."
Earlier, Singh, who arrived in the city on his first visit after assuming the top post in the party, drove straight to the Sangam for a holy dip. He stopped at a number of places en route to accepting greetings and garlands from party supporters and when some of them raised slogans that they wanted to see "Modi as PM", he promptly asked them to keep quiet.
Meanwhile, the VHP has demanded that a bill be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament so that Ram Janambhoomi land could be handed over to the Shri Ram Janambhoomi Nyas for construction of the Ram temple. It adopted a resolution at the central advisory committee meeting urging the government in this regard failing which it said the "Hindu samaj will be compelled to launch a massive agitation".
The resolution also said, "Hindus will not tolerate any memorial named after Babur or any Islamic cultural centre at the Ram Janambhoomi site," and appealed to all political parties to cooperate in getting a legislation to this effect pass "unanimously". Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Singhal said, "The court of law has already upheld the Hindus' claim on Ram Janambhoomi.
There have been appeals challenging the order of the Allahabad High Court on the Ayodhya title suit but Hindus can't go on waiting till all legal disputes are resolved. Now this issue can be settled only through Parliament..." He said Congress being in power is the biggest hurdle in achieving this objective.
He, however, hastened to add, "VHP does not believe in speaking for or against any particular party or individual. Our only concern is to safeguard the interests of Hindus." Earlier in the day, Singhal said that Modi enjoys the same popularity as that of Jawaharlal Nehru.
"It is for the first time since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru when a leader has come to enjoy such a massive popularity across the country," he said.