Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh): Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani Saturday reiterated his commitment to a grand Ram temple in this Hindu holy town as he kicked off the party’s campaign for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
Even as BJP has seen the futility of the temple issue in several past elections, Advani still appears to be banking on the issue for giving the party a boost at this month’s state assembly elections.
“My life’s ultimate objective would be accomplished only on the day a grand temple is in place in this holy town of Ayodhya,” Advani told a gathering here.
“I am sure that millions of ‘Ram Bhakts’ (Ram devotees) are also anxiously awaiting for the temple to be built at the place where the deity of Lord Ram is installed. Therefore we have to strive in that direction.”
Recalling the Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ayodhya issue, he said: “All the three judges of the special bench were unanimous on accepting the fact that Ram’s birthplace was exactly where the idol of the god was installed.”
“It would a great day for me when leaders of the Hindu and Muslim communities sit across the table to thrash out an amicable formula to resolve the long-pending issue.”
Advani said he was of the view that the dispute would have come to an end long ago if the then Rajiv Gandhi government had dared to adopt the same path for initiating the construction of Ram temple as had been taken by the Congress’s own government shortly after Independence to re-build the Somnath temple.
“The book ‘Somnath and Pilgrimage to Freedom’ clearly spells out the problems that arose at the time of reconstruction of the Somnath temple, but it was then prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who presided over a meeting that took the final decision. The meeting was attended ,among others, by Maulana Azad, Sardar Patel and K M. Munshi.”
Referring to his rath yatra for the Ram temple, Advani said he had learnt a lot from it. “The Ayodhya Rath yatra taught me ‘Rashtra Dharma (nationalism),” he emphasised.
Advani also flayed the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government on the issue of black money stashed in foreign banks.
“Only if the government could muster up the courage, we could bring back the estimated Rs. 25 lakh crores of India’s black money that was stashed in foreign banks. That could transform the condition of all villages of India,” he asserted.