Making a strong pitch for the construction of Ram Temple, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday urged the Modi government to bring legislation or an ordinance for it.
Arriving in the holy city of Ayodhya, a day ahead of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's (VHP) 'Dharam Sabha' rally, Thackeray asked the BJP government to wake up from a 'Kumbhakarna-like slumber' and declare the date for its construction.
"Days months, years and generations have passed. First say, when you will construct the temple, the rest we will talk later", Thackeray dared Modi-government.
Thackeray, who arrived in the temple city along with family for a two-day visit attacked the government over the delay in the construction of the Ram Temple. "There should be a temple of Lord Ram at the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi", he said.
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“I have come here to awaken the Kumbhakarana,” he said, indirectly comparing Modi, or his government, to the Ramayana character known for sleeping for months at a stretch.
“Today's Kumbhakarna has been sleeping for the past four years," he said.
He said there is a BJP government at the Centre and also in the state. “Bring an ordinance or law, the Shiv Sena will support it,”' he said.
He said bringing a law on the temple’s construction may have been difficult during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s term as it was a coalition government then. But the current government is strong, he said.
The Sena chief said he did not want to take the credit for the temple construction, and others were free to do so."But how many years should we wait for the temple?”
"Ram temple is a matter concerning faith and the government needs to bring a law before the court verdict,” he said, referring to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land case before the Supreme Court.
The apex court has said it will set the dates for the future course of hearings only in January.
Thackeray recalled former prime minister Vajpayee as saying, 'Ab Hindu maat nahi khayega (Hindus will not be defeated now), and added, "Hindus will not sit silent."
'There is no political motive behind my visit to Ayodhya,” he claimed.
The Sena chief was greeted with slogans of 'Jai Shri Ram' upon his arrival in the holy city. After his arrival at the Lakshman Qila, the Shiv Sena chief performed 'maha aarti' on the banks of river Sarayu.
The Sena is believed to have sent in about 3,000 party supporters from Maharashtra by two trains.
The supporters took a dip in the Saryu river and then prayed at Ram Lalla and Hanuman Garhi, Sena leaders said.
Thackeray is reported to have brought a pot of soil from Shivneri fort in Pune to be handed over to the priest at the Ram Lalla’s temple when he meets him later.
Security was tightened in Ayodhya ahead of Sunday's VHP event. The VHP has claimed that tens of thousands of people will attend its event.
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Earlier in the day, in a veiled attack on the BJP, the Shiv Sena said that those talking about it had kept Lord Ram in "exile" in Ayodhya, despite being in power at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh.
The Shiv Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana', claimed that the sentiment among Hindus, now, was "first temple and then government".
"The promise of constructing the temple was given in each election; the temple, however, has not yet been created despite those talking about it
being in power at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh. Lord Ram has gone into exile in Ayodhya itself," the editorial said.
"This is the biggest betrayal. Those who came to power being Ram devotees have turned in to Kumbhakarna," it said.