In a sharp attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Shiv Sena on Thursday said it wondered when the Ram temple could be constructed in Ayodhya if not during the tenure of the current BJP-led majority government.
It said if the Ram temple cannot be built before 2019 (polls), it will be like betraying people of the country, for which the BJP and the RSS would have to apologise to them.
The Sena, an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra, slammed Modi for his comment in a recent interview, broadcast by several TV channels, that any government action on the temple construction can happen only after the judicial process is over.
"He (Modi) came to power in the name of Ram, however, according to him, Lord Ram is not bigger than law. The question now is if the temple cannot be constructed in the majority government, when will it ever be," the Sena asked in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
The Modi government got a magnificent statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel constructed in Gujarat, but the prime minister did not show the courage of 'sardar' over the Ram temple issue, it said, asserting that this would be recorded in the pages of history.
The agitation for the Ram temple began in 1991-92 and hundreds of 'kar sevaks' lost their lives, it noted.
"Who did this massacre and why? While hundreds of Hindu kar sevaks died, the subsequent (Mumbai) bomb blasts led to the killing of hundreds of people from both sides (Hindu and Muslim communities). If the Supreme Court had to take the decision, why this massacre and bloodshed?" it asked.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party further sought to know whether the BJP and the RSS were ready to take the responsibility for those killings and bloodshed.
"The way the Congress had to apologise for the massacre of Sikhs (after the anti-Sikh riots in 1984), we have to understand the sentiments of those who demand an apology (from the BJP) for the massacre of Hindus," it said.
Further attacking Modi over his interview in which he defended his government's decision of demonetisation in 2016, the Marathi daily said if note ban was not a shock and people had been warned a year before it was done, "who exactly were those people"?
"Those who lost their lives standing in bank queues and those who lost employment, were they not citizens?" it further asked.
In remarks laced with sarcasm, the Sena said if according to Modi, the upcoming general elections would be between people and the 'Mahagathbandhan' (the proposed anti-BJP alliance), "did people of Iran vote for the BJP in 2014?"
"The people of five states who voted against the party (in the recent Assembly polls), are they not citizens of this country," the Sena queried.