Amid reports that the Congress' student wing has launched a campaign in Rajasthan to collect money for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, senior party leader Manish Tewari on Friday said the development underscores once again the need for a candid and conceptual discussion within the party on a host of core ideological issues. Neeraj Kundan, president of the National Students' Union of India (NSUI), however, said that as the head of the party's students' wing, he would like to make it clear, "we're not running any national campaign to collect any kind of donation for the Ram Mandir".
The NSUI Rajasthan campaign was a symbolic protest to expose the organised loot by the RSS and the BJP in the name of Ram Mandir, he claimed. Earlier in the day, Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted, "Ram Temple fund collection by @nsui underscores once again need for a candid and conceptual discussion within @INCIndia on host of core ideological issues." "As INC is a secular party: Does Secularism mean separation of Church & State or Sarv Dharam Sambhav?" he said.
The Congress' student wing had on Tuesday launched the campaign to collect money from students for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, claiming that the BJP and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) have been "looting" people in the name of raising fund for the temple. The drive named "Rs 1 Ram Ke Naam" was launched by NSUI state president Abhishek Chaudhary at Commerce College at Jawaharlal Nehru Road in Jaipur.
Congress national treasurer Pawan Bansal, however, claimed he was not aware of any such move by the NSUI. He said some people had approached him as well for the fund but he had refused to make any contribution.
About the fund-raising campaign for the Ram temple, NSUI spokesperson Ramesh Bhati said, The ABVP and the BJP have been looting people in the name of contribution for the Ram Mandir. "We will oppose this with our initiative because Ram temple is a matter of faith for all and taking lakhs and crores of rupees from people is wrong," Bhati added.