Nitish Kumar’s party plays BJP tune

PATNA: The ruling Janata Dal United in Bihar in a significant shift from its earlier stand has sought for construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya, a town in Uttar Pradesh where Hindus believe prominent deity Ram was born. This is the first time in many years that the JD-U has openly come out in support of Ram temple saying the issue was linked to the sentiments of millions of Hindus.

The JD-U which is headed by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar became a part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance in July last year.

“Lord Ram is one of the most respected deities of one of the oldest religions of the world. Why should a temple not be built? It’ll remind the country again of the importance of the highest values of behaviour & etiquette associated with him,” JD-U national general secretary and spokesperson Pavan Kumar Varma told the media on Friday. He even asked the people opposing temple construction to give up their protests in the interests of the country and Hindus.

He said as a Hindu, he wants the temple to be constructed at Ayodhya since “Ram Lala” was born at that place, adding although the issue should be settled through proper dialogue yet he is of the opinion that “Ayodhya mein mandir banana hi chahiye (a Ram temple is must at Ayodhya).” At presently, the issue is in pending in the court.

The JD-U’s demand for Ram temple comes barely three days after the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat pitched for early construction of Ram temple at Ayodhaya claiming that would usher in peace and communal harmony.

“The building of Ram temple will end a major issue of friction between Hindus and Muslims. And if it is done amicably, it will automatically silence those who point fingers at Muslim community,” Bhagwat told a three-day RSS programme held earlier this week in New Delhi.

Before them, the BJP had raked up the issue of Ram temple during its two-day national executive committee meet held at Bihar’s Bodh Gaya town earlier this month. “The Ram temple will be constructed at the same place in Ayodhya. There won’t be much delay,” was senior BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain had told the media at meeting site.

“The matter is in the court but we hope the judgement will come soon,” he said adding the construction works would start the moment the court delivers its judgement,” he added. The meeting was held to discuss poll strategy for upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Experts say the BJP and its offshoots are repeatedly trying to rake up the temple issue in the hope of luring the Hindu voters.

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