LUCKNOW: While seeking the blessings of Lord Ram before starting a fresh inning in the 17th Lok Sabha, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday also renewed pressure on the Modi government over the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Flanked by his family members and the 18 newly-elected MPs of his party, the Sena chief first took darshan of Ram Lalla and offered puja at the makeshift temple on the disputed site.
The Shiv Sena has said the visit was to fulfil the promise Thackeray made last November to come to Ayodhya again after the elections. "Shri Uddhav Thackeray ji had promised to return to Ayodhya after elections for Ram Lalla Darshan, today he fulfils that promise along with @AUThackeray ji & elected MPs of the party," tweeted Congress turncoat and Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi on Sunday morning.
"From tomorrow (June 17), the Lok Sabha session will begin, so before entering Parliament, all Shiv
Sena MPs have come here to take the blessings of Ram Lalla (or infant Ram). We strongly believe that a temple will be constructed here at the earliest," said Thackeray.
In a press conference after his temple visit, Thackeray minced no words while demanding speedy construction of the temple and exhorted the Central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to take the ordinance route for the purpose if need be.
“This is the most appropriate and favourable time and PM Modi has the courage and ability to take hard decisions. There is no one who can stop him now. We are together on the issue and a grand temple is going to be a reality for sure this time around,” asserted the Sena chief.
Maharashtra will be going to polls later this year and the visit is being seen as an attempt by the Shiv Sena to put pressure on ally BJP on the Ram temple issue.
Assuring his party’s support to the Modi government in any step taken to facilitate a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, Thackeray sought to link the issue with the religious sentiments of crores of Hindus across the globe, rather than projecting it as a political issue. He raised the slogan of "kanoon banao, mandir banao (formulate law and construct temple)".
"We say, bring the ordinance. I'm confident that a Ram Temple will be constructed for sure. I'm here for the second time... This place is such that you want to keep coming back,” said Thackeray adding that it was a known fact that both the BJP and Shiv Sena draw their identity as Hindu parties.
When asked whether the Shiv Sena would risk its alliance with the BJP to put pressure on the government over the Ram temple, he quipped, "For a good work, thoughts also need to be good."
In the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Shiv Sena had criticised its ally, the BJP, for allegedly putting the Ram Temple issue on the back burner. However, BJP has maintained that it remains committed to the construction of the Ram Temple at the earliest.
Batting for unity among Hindus, the Sena chief called upon them to remain together
to fulfil the bigger cause in the temple town.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had visited Ayodhya last Friday and offered prayers at the makeshift Ram Lalla temple. He too reiterated the BJP's support for the construction of a grand Ram temple at the disputed site.
The title suit over the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site is being heard in the Supreme Court. The apex court had formed a 3-member panel headed by former apex court judge F M I Kallifulla for finding a solution through mediation. The panel was given eight weeks to complete the process.
(With inputs from PTI)