Against the backdrop of the recent Supreme Court ruling holding as "corrupt practice" seeking votes in name of religion, the Bhartiya Janata Party today said that it will "remain silent" on Ram temple issue during Uttar Pradesh Assembly poll campaign.
"Though it is the matter of our personal belief, but belief also comes in the criteria of religion, so we will remain silent on Ram and mandir issue during election campaign," BJP MP Vinay Katiyar today told PTI.
In a majority verdict last week, the Supreme Court had held that any appeal for votes on the ground of "religion, race, caste, community or language" amounted to "corrupt practice" under the election law provision.
Katiyar was the face of the Ram temple movement in Ayodhya in the early 1990s. He has said in the past that the Modi government should "move to resolve" the matter without waiting for a Supreme Court verdict on the disputed site.
However, Vijay Bahadur Pathak, the BJP's state spokesman, refused to comment when asked weather BJP leaders will raise the Ram temple issue in the forthcoming polls.
"Ram temple is not a political issue, it is our belief," he added.
Last week, while pronouncing the verdict, a seven-judge bench headed by the then Chief Justice T S Thakur, said, "Freedom to follow religion has nothing to do with the secular nature of the state. The relationship between man and god is an individual choice and state is forbidden to have allegiance to such an activity."
Referring to the term 'his religion' used in section 123(3) of the Representation of The Peoples (RP) Act, which deals with 'corrupt practice', Chief Justice T S Thakur and three others in the 4:3 verdict said it meant the religion and caste of all including voters, candidates and their agents etc.
However, the minority view of three judges - UU Lalit, A K Goel and D Y Chandrachud - held that the term 'his' religion means religion of candidate only.
The majority view, also shared by Justices M B Lokur, S A Bobde and L N Rao, said 'secularism' has to be considered while dealing with such issues.
(With PTI inputs)