'Ram Mandir Not Our Agenda': Nitish Backs Ally Paswan in Fighting 2019 Battle on Development Plank
The Bihar chief minister said the matter must be resolved either through a court judgment or mutual understanding, in an indication of his party’s opposition to the demand by Hindutva groups for a law to build the temple in Ayodhya.
New Delhi: Hours after finalising the seat-sharing arrangement with the BJP in the state, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday said the Ram Mandir issue should be resolved either through a court judgment or mutual understanding, in an indication of his party’s opposition to the demand by Hindutva groups for a law to build the temple in Ayodhya.
To a question on the issue, the JD(U) president told reporters: “We have maintained for a long time that this issue should be resolved either through a court judgement or mutual understanding.” Kumar said every party has its own views but his party's stand has been the same over the matter for long.
Kumar’s stand echoes the views of another BJP ally, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). LJP leader Chirag Paswan had recently said Ram Mandir was not a priority for his party and had even warned the BJP that it should focus on the development plank to avoid any further losses in elections.
Flanked by Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan, BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday announced the final seat-sharing agreement in Bihar for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, according to which the BJP and JD(U) would each contest on 17 seats, while six would be left for the LJP.
Apart from the six Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, the LJP is also likely to get one seat in either Uttar Pradesh or Jharkhand and a Rajya Sabha berth, which is likely to be taken by Paswan, who is currently a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet.
Several political experts are of the opinion that given the “pressure” both the parties were able to exert on the BJP over seat sharing and the fact that the saffron party is trying hard to keep its flock together ahead of the 2019 polls, it is expected that the BJP will lend an ear to their opinion.
The Ram Mandir issue has become a political hot potato, with Hindutva groups, including BJP's ideological parent RSS, pressing the Centre to bring a legislation to pave the way for the temple’s construction at the site where Lord Ram is believed to have been born.
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