Right Time to Start Working on Ram Mandir: Mahesh Sharma in Ayodhya
File Photo of Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma.
Ayodhya: Blessed are those who get to serve Ram, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma said during a visit to the communally-sensitive town of Ayodhya in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.
"If anyone gets a chance to work for Bhagwan Ram he is most fortunate... it will be good fortune if Bhagwan Ram gives us a chance to do 'Ram ka kaam' and this responsibility has been given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the people of the country," he said on a visit to inspect the site for Ramayana museum.
Emphasising the ideals propagated in Ramayana, Sharma said that in certain areas the hands of the Centre were tied.
"All proposals for development which have to be passed by the Centre have to come from states... sometimes our hands are also tied... this problem will also be taken care of soon,” he said.
"Mann ban chuka hai, mahaul ban chuka hai, the beginning has been made and we have got the directives from Ram Lalla," he said, adding, "We are the Lord's children and so have to do his work of spreading education."
The Union Tourism Minister added that Ayodhya's development will get a big push from the Rs 150 crore allotted for developing a museum, which is to be located 15 km from the site where the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992, triggering deadly communal riots across the country.
Several right-wing organisations, including the Vishwa Hindu Prashad say a temple must be built on the site of Babri Masjid because that is the exact spot where Lord Ram was born.
During his campaign trail for 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stressed on the development and economic growth. However, the fringe elements have not shied away from invoking Ram Mandir since his arrival to power.
The sprawling Ramayana museum, which will present the life of the deity as portrayed in sage Valmiki's epic, will be spread across 25 acres.
Sharma said he expected the museum to bring in a rush of tourists because it will be linked to other places on the "Ram circuit" - sites of great significance in the Ramayana, including some in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
In 2010, the Allahabad High Court had asked for the trifurcation of the disputed site between Muslims, Hindus and the large and wealthy Nirmohi Akhara sect. The verdict has been challenged in the Supreme Court by Hindu and Muslim organisations.
BJP’s political opponents have repeatedly accused the party of attempting a "dangerous strategy to communalise voters" and risk the fragile peace in Ayodhya.
Sharma, however, said the Akhilesh Yadav government has announced its own plans to develop what it described as an international theme park in Ayodhya.
"Why the same charge should not be levelled against them?" the minister asked.
BSP chief Mayawati has accused BJP of announcing the project purely for political gain in the forthcoming UP polls.
"Any such project should have started much before if they had the right intentions," Mayawati said, adding that the announcements were driven by BJP and SP's "religion-based politics".
She also added the proposed projects must not be allowed to affect the disputed site in Ayodhya as the issue was pending before the court.
General Secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday also hit out at BJP for having brought Ram Mandir issue again to the fore. "They have not been able to fulfil a single promise that they made in the last elections. All these games are played to distract people's attention. But I am sure people of India have seen through this. They have gone through this for the past twenty years," Yechury said.
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