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Include Ram Mandir in Manifesto and We'll Support You: VHP's Offer to Congress and Warning to BJP

VHP executive vice-president Alok Kumar’s comments came days before the Dharm Sansad on January 31, during which Right-wing outfits are likely to up the pressure on the BJP for a legislation on Ram Temple.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:January 20, 2019, 1:02 PM IST

Lucknow: In a warning to the BJP over the delay in construction of Ram Mandir, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has said it is open to backing the Congress ahead of Lok Sabha elections if the party manifesto promises to build the temple in Ayodhya.

Speaking to the media during the Kumbh in Prayagraj, VHP executive vice-president Alok Kumar said, “The Congress has closed all its doors for us, but if they open their doors and include the Ram Mandir in their manifesto, we may think of supporting the party.”

Kumar’s statement came days before VHP’s Dharm Sansad on January 31, during which Right-wing outfits are likely to up the pressure on the BJP government at the Centre to bring in a legislation for Ram Temple. “We will seek blessings from seers and saints in the Dharm Sansad. We will also put forth the issue of Ram Mandir and seek advice from seers and saints. Only then will we decide our next move,” Kumar said.

However, speaking to News18 on Sunday, Kumar claimed his statement has been “overstretched”. “The VHP has met all political parties in the recent days and requested them to support the legislature if it comes up in Parliament. We believe that the temple issue should be a matter of consensus in the political field. We shall request all parties to include this in their manifesto. We will thank the parties that do it. However, that does not mean support to any party, it’s not our job and we do not do it,” Kumar said.

Reacting to Kumar’s comment, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “First, let the Congress party inherit Lord Ram in their heart. This is the same Congress whose leader Kapil Sibal said in court that the issue should be heard after elections. We are committed towards Ram Temple.”

The VHP has been disillusioned since Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview to news agency ANI, ruled out bringing in any ordinance while the issue is pending in courts. “We think that the central government will not bring any ordinance on the construction of Ram Mandir. We will also be telling this to the seers and saints who will participate in the Dharm Sansad,” Alok Kumar said.

The judicial process will gather pace on January 29 when a five-judge bench to hear the Ayodhya title dispute case will be reconstituted following the recusal of Justice UU Lalit in the Supreme Court.

In a surprise statement last week, RSS second-in-command Bhaiyyaji Joshi had said last week that the Ram Temple in Ayodhya will come up in 2025, a year after the 2024 next Lok Sabha elections and the year of the next Kumbh. The RSS had played down this apparent jibe at the government and BJP, saying Joshi meant the temple would be ready by the next Kumbh.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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